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Design Tips for Shade Gardens

Make the most of your shade gardens with proper plant selection and design strategies.

Select bright and lime green foliage plants that stand out in the shady corners of your landscape.  Combine them with your favorite dark leafed and flowered plants that tend to disappear in the shade. The contrasting colors help both plants pop.

Look for shade tolerant plants with a variety of leaf shapes and sizes. The differences in texture add interest to the shade garden. Repeat the leaf sizes and shapes to unify the garden. Use this same strategy to create continuity between sun and shade gardens in your landscape.

Add some early season color with shade tolerant bulbs like squills, grape hyacinths and daffodils.  Include sun-lovers in gardens where the shade arrives in late spring when the overhead trees leaf out.

Take advantage of the cool shade by adding a bench for sitting, reading and relaxing.

A bit more information: Longfield Gardens also suggests including a variety of plant shapes. Use columnar plants to create a focal point. Include weeping and mounded plants for a sense of fluidity in the garden.


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