November 11

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25 creative ideas to transform a shady north-facing garden into a stunning outdoor oasis

North-facing garden ideas – 25 ways to make the best of a shady spot

Having a north-facing garden can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to choosing the right plants and creating a vibrant outdoor space. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to make the most of a shady spot and turn it into a beautiful and inviting area.

Above all, it’s important to understand the specific conditions that a north-facing garden presents. With less direct sunlight, plants that thrive in shade, such as ferns and sarcococca, should be your go-to choices. These shade-loving plants will add texture and interest to your garden, with their lush foliage and, in some cases, delicate flowers.

If you’re afraid that a north-facing garden might be too dark and lacking in color, think again. There are plenty of options to brighten up the space. Pale flowering plants, such as white roses and white-flowered grasses, can add a touch of elegance to a shady spot. They’ll beautifully complement the natural greens and create a contrast that will make your garden come alive.

Another way to add interest to a north-facing garden is by incorporating different heights and layers. Tall flowering plants, like the intriguing foxgloves or the elegant harriet ferns, can provide a focal point and create a sense of depth in your outdoor space. Planted among lower-growing foliage plants, they’ll form a natural and verdant backdrop.

Privacy and creating a cozy atmosphere are also important aspects to consider when planning your north-facing garden. Adding mirrors to reflect light and create the illusion of more space is a clever trick that can work wonders. You can place them strategically, so they capture the morning or evening sunlight and bounce it around your garden. Just be sure not to place them directly facing the neighbor’s windows!

Finally, don’t forget about the decor. Shade-loving plants are indeed the stars of a north-facing garden, but adding decorative elements, such as colorful pots, garden statues, or even a small water feature, can take your outdoor space to the next level. Be creative and mix and match different textures, colors, and materials to create a unique and inviting atmosphere.

So, whether you already have a north-facing garden or you’re planning to create one, don’t be discouraged by the lack of direct sunlight. With a little bit of creativity and know-how, you can transform your shady spot into a lush and beautiful oasis that will be the envy of all your neighbors.

North-facing garden ideas

When you have a north-facing garden, it can feel like a challenge to create a beautiful and vibrant outdoor space. However, with the right plants and design ideas, you can turn your shady spot into a stunning oasis. Here are some north-facing garden ideas to inspire you:

1. Hydrangeas for pops of color

Hydrangeas are perfect for north-facing gardens because they thrive in partial shade. Their large, showy flowers come in a range of colors, including blue, pink, and white, adding a pop of color to your garden.

2. Add texture with foliage

Rather than focusing on form and flowers, use plants with interesting foliage to create texture in your north-facing garden. Silver-toned plants like lambs’ ears and silver artemisia can bring a calming and contemporary feel to the space.

3. Fill shady spots with begonias

Begonias are shade-loving plants that bloom with bright and cheerful flowers. Whether you choose the bold and vibrant tuberous begonias or the delicate and dainty fibrous begonias, they will fill your shady spots with color and beauty.

4. Illuminate the space with outdoor lights

4. Illuminate the space with outdoor lights

To make your north-facing garden feel cozy and inviting during the evenings, add outdoor lights. Whether you hang fairy lights in the trees or place solar-powered lanterns along your garden path, the soft glow will create a magical ambiance.

5. Create a focal point with a firepit

If your north-facing garden gets little sunlight, embrace the shade and create a cozy area with a firepit. Whether it’s a large stone firepit or a small metal bowl, the warm flames will become the focal point of your garden and provide a gathering spot during colder months.

6. Use mirrors to create the illusion of space

If your north-facing garden feels small and enclosed, strategically placing mirrors can give the illusion of more space. Hang them on walls or fences to reflect light and make the area feel brighter and larger.

7. Play with different tones of green

Green is a calming and soothing color, so embrace the shade in your north-facing garden and play with different tones of green. Mix different types of evergreen shrubs and grasses to create a lush and textured backdrop for your plants.

8. Add interest with brick walls and terraces

8. Add interest with brick walls and terraces

Brick walls and terraces can add interest and structure to your north-facing garden. Their warm tones will stand out against the greenery and create a beautiful backdrop for your plants.

9. Paint your fence or walls

If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to brighten up your north-facing garden, consider painting your fence or walls. Choose light and bright colors that will reflect light and make the space feel more vibrant.

10. Plant evergreen trees for year-round beauty

If you want to add height and structure to your north-facing garden, consider planting evergreen trees. They will provide year-round interest with their green foliage and act as a backdrop for other plants.

With these north-facing garden ideas, you can transform your shady spot into a beautiful and vibrant outdoor space. Embrace the shade and make the most of the unique conditions to create a garden that you’ll love.

1 Use white flowers to add a luminous touch

If you have a north-facing garden that doesn’t get much sun, one way to brighten up the space is by using white flowers. White flowers have a unique ability to add a luminous touch to any garden, even those with limited sunlight. They reflect light, creating a more vibrant and airy feel in what can otherwise be a shady spot.

When choosing white flowers for a north-facing garden, opt for varieties that are sun-loving. While these flowers may not receive direct sunlight, they can still thrive in shaded areas. Some popular options include:

  • White Hydrangeas: These large, showy blooms can create a stunning focal point in a shady garden. They can be planted beneath a tree or along a fence, and their white flowers will stand out against the verdant backdrop of leaves.
  • White Tulips: Tulips are a springtime favorite, and they come in a variety of colors, including white. Planting white tulips in a shady garden can provide a pop of brightness and color when they bloom each year.
  • White Roses: Roses are a classic choice for outdoor gardens, and they come in many different colors, including white. White roses can add a touch of elegance and romance to a north-facing garden.
  • White Daisies: Daisies are a cheerful and low-maintenance option for any garden. Their white petals complement other colors beautifully, and they can thrive in both sun and shade.

In addition to adding white flowers to your garden, consider adding lighting or fairy lights to create a magical atmosphere during the evening hours. The latest outdoor lighting options are designed to be weather-resistant and can be strategically placed amidst your white flowers to enhance their luminosity even more.

If you’re looking for a more aged and romantic feel, consider planting white flowers in containers made of weathered wood or metal. These materials age beautifully over time and can create a charming and timeless look in your garden.

For added privacy and a touch of warmth during the winter months, consider planting evergreen plants, such as white blooming rhododendrons or camellias. These plants will provide year-round foliage and a splash of color when they bloom in the spring.

In terms of design, consider having several areas with white flowers scattered throughout your north-facing garden. This will create a sense of cohesion and brightness, even in areas that aren’t exposed to much sunlight. You can also mix in other shades of white, like cream or ivory, to add depth and variation to your flower beds.

Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of any spots in your garden that do receive some sunshine. If you have a small area or a spot that gets a few hours of direct sunlight each day, make the most of it by planting sun-loving white flowers. These areas will become the brightest spots in your garden and will create a beautiful contrast against the shady areas.

By using white flowers strategically and combining them with other design elements, you can make the most of your north-facing garden and turn it into a calming and lush oasis.

2 Flip the layout to suit the sun

If you have a north-facing garden, it may feel like you’re dealing with a perpetual gloom. But don’t be afraid to flip the layout to make the most of the sun. Consider moving your seating area or patio to a sunnier spot in the garden, perhaps closer to the house or along a south-facing wall. This will ensure that you can enjoy the sunshine throughout the day.

Landscaping can also play a key role in creating a more sun-filled space. Use plants and structures strategically to provide privacy while maximizing sunlight. Tall evergreen foliage or walls painted in pale hues can bounce light back into the garden, making it feel brighter and more inviting.

When it comes to plants, don’t think that having a north-facing garden means you’re limited to shade-loving varieties. While it’s true that some plants won’t thrive without direct sunlight, many others are perfectly suited to these conditions. Hostas, hydrangeas, ferns, and moss are just a few examples of plants that can offer both lush foliage and stunning blooms in a shady garden.

Consider planting a mix of flowering plants and greenery to add interest and variety. Ferns, with their exquisite form and delicate foliage, are particularly well-suited to shady spots. Combine them with other shade-loving plants in different heights and textures to create a visually appealing and vibrant garden.

If you’re looking for a touch of color, flowering plants like white hydrangeas or delicate blooms of john’s wort can add a pop of brightness to the landscape. Their white flowers can also help reflect light, making the garden appear brighter and more inviting, even on overcast days.

Another intriguing option for a north-facing garden is to create a woodland-inspired landscape. By using plants, such as ferns, moss, and other shade-loving varieties, you can transform your garden into a verdant and tranquil haven. Add a pathway made of gravel or aged bricks to create a sense of depth and structure.

Don’t forget about the evening hours! Introduce some subtle lighting to your garden to extend the time you can enjoy your outdoor space. Soft lighting can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, perfect for relaxing after a long day.

By flipping the layout of your north-facing garden and embracing shade-loving plants, you can create a beautiful and inviting space that is both functional and visually appealing. So don’t let the lack of direct sunlight discourage you – embrace the opportunity to explore innovative and creative landscaping ideas to make your north-facing garden a stunning destination all year round.

3 Use shade loving plants in rich greens

When dealing with a north-facing garden, direct lighting can be a little scarce. But don’t be afraid to embrace the shade, as it offers the perfect opportunity to showcase shade-loving plants in rich greens.

Silver ferns are a great choice for shady spots, as their fronds thrive in dark corners. These plants offer a touch of foliage that can transform your garden into a woodland destination.

Brick walls or neighboring trees might create areas of dappled sunlight, allowing for some sun-loving plants to thrive. Harriet sarcococca is one such plant, known for its pale pink flowers and warm green leaves. These plants can add color and interest to your shady garden.

If you want to go beyond green foliage, consider adding some pale toned plants to suit the dark corners. You can create a beautifully textured scene with pale greens, including ferns and other shade-loving plants.

To add a touch of color, consider sprinkling in some bright flowers. These can create a fairy tale effect and add interest to your shady garden. Mirrors or gravel can be used to enhance the effect, creating a feeling of more light in the space.

Containers can also be used to incorporate shade-loving plants in your garden. This allows you to easily move them around to find the perfect spot for them to thrive.

Overall, don’t be afraid to embrace the shade in your north-facing garden. With the right selection of shade-loving plants in rich greens, you can create a beautiful and serene space that will be the envy of your neighbors.

4 Adopt a neighboring landscape

If your north-facing garden lacks interest, one creative solution is to adopt a neighboring landscape. That’s right, instead of creating more homes among the pale and dark foliage, why not embrace what’s already there? There is something exquisite about a dark back fence or a row of containers filled with different shades of green.

Texture can then play a big part in breaking up the gloom, so look out for plants with interesting foliage or bark to contrast against the green. Adding a sprinkling of color throughout the space catches the eye and adds a bonus of interest, especially when the leaves come down in winter.

For a natural yet aged look, consider planting shrubs along the fence line. This will help blend the fence into the landscape and create a sense of privacy. Shrubs like Sarcococca have dark green leaves that add texture and a sweet scent to the space. They’re also evergreen, so they’ll provide interest all year round.

If your neighbor has aged walls or fences, take advantage of them. The latest trend in green design is to have plants spilling over walls and fences, adding a touch of green and softness to the surroundings. This can be achieved with trailing plants in containers or by training climbers to grow up and over the barrier.

To help enhance the space, create different levels by using tall plants or structures such as trellises or pergolas. This will add depth and interest to the north-facing garden, giving it a calm and serene feel.

In terms of flowering plants, hydrangeas are a great choice for a north-facing garden. They thrive in shade and add a pop of color with their large, showy blooms. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that complements the rest of your landscape.

Woodland areas are another expert idea to consider. These areas often have a mix of plants, including shrubs, flowers, and foliage that thrive in shady conditions. Each year, the area will change as different plants come into bloom, providing a constantly evolving display of color and interest.

So, don’t let the lack of sunlight discourage you from creating a beautiful and vibrant north-facing garden. Adopting a neighboring landscape, using plants with interesting foliage, embracing dark fences and walls, and creating different levels are just a few ideas that can help transform your space into a lush and inviting oasis.

5 Get rid of the lawn

One of the easiest ways to transform a north-facing garden is to get rid of the lawn. Grass requires lots of sunlight to thrive, so it’s no surprise that north-facing lawns often struggle to stay green. Instead of fighting against nature, consider removing the grass and creating a different type of outdoor space.

Once the lawn is gone, you’ll have a blank canvas to work with. You could choose to create a terrace, which would provide a flat and usable space for outdoor seating and entertaining. A terrace can also help to capture the sun that does make it into your garden, allowing you to enjoy the rays when they do appear.

If having a verdant space is a priority for you, there are other options that can fill the void left by the lawn. Ferns, hostas, and other shade-loving plants can be a great addition to a north-facing garden. These plants thrive in wooded areas and offer a lush and green backdrop to your outdoor space.

For a touch of color, consider adding some hydrangeas. These plants come in a variety of hues, including white, pink, and even blue. They can add a pop of color to your garden and create a focal point or focal points, depending on how many you choose to plant.

If you want to create a sense of depth in your garden, consider adding mirrors. Mirrors can reflect light and make a small space feel bigger. They can also catch and reflect the little sunlight that does reach your garden, brightening up the space and making it feel less shady.

Woodland-themed decor is also a great option for a north-facing garden. Consider adding a little fence or creating a gravel pathway through the space. These elements can help to create a sense of structure and organization, while still maintaining a natural and organic feel.

Another way to brighten up a shady garden is through lighting. String lights and lanterns can add a soft and inviting glow to your outdoor space, making it a cozy retreat in the evening hours. Outdoor lighting can also help to create a focal point or draw attention to specific plants or features in your garden.

When planning your garden, it’s important to keep in mind that there is beauty in the shade. There are plenty of plants and design ideas that thrive in shady conditions, and embracing these can lead to a unique and intriguing outdoor space. So, don’t be discouraged by the lack of direct sunlight – embrace the challenge and get creative with your north-facing garden!

6 Choose materials that suit the planting

When planning your North-facing garden, it’s important to choose materials that beautifully complement the plants and foliage that thrive in shady spots. This will create a harmonious and cohesive look in your outdoor space.

One bonus of having a shady garden is that it can be a destination in the evening when neighboring gardens lose their light. To make the most of this intriguing and intimate atmosphere, consider using materials that reflect and catch the available light.

Mirrors strategically placed can create the illusion of a larger space and reflect any available light into the shady areas. You could also incorporate outdoor lighting that catches the foliage and flowering plants, adding an exquisite touch to your garden in the evening.

Having a North-facing garden doesn’t mean you have to stick to muted tones and greens. Play with color and texture by incorporating different materials. For example, create a small terrace using wooden decking or stone paving, and surround it with verdant shade-loving plants.

If privacy is a concern, use materials that offer a sense of enclosure. Install a fence or construct walls using materials like brick or timber. This will not only create privacy but also add texture and interest to your garden.

Consider using materials that are low-maintenance and durable. Evergreen plants like hydrangeas and grasses make excellent choices for shady gardens since they provide color and interest throughout the year. Combining these plants with natural materials like stone or gravel can create a timeless and elegant look.

When selecting materials, take into account the latest gardening trends and expert advice. For instance, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in fairy gardens and miniature landscapes. Incorporating fairy houses or small terracotta pots into your garden can add a touch of whimsy and charm.

In conclusion, choosing materials that suit the planting in your North-facing garden will enhance its beauty and appeal. By using mirrors, creating small terraces with wooden decking or stone paving, adding privacy with fences or walls, and incorporating low-maintenance evergreen plants, you can create an enchanting and inviting outdoor space that is perfect for relaxation and enjoyment.

7 Follow the light in a north-facing garden

When planning the decor for a north-facing garden, one of the most important things to consider is the amount of sunlight the area receives. While north-facing gardens are known for their shade, there are still ways to create a beautifully lit space.

Above all, it is crucial to understand what plants will thrive in a north-facing garden. Shade-loving plants, such as ferns, hostas, and hellebores, are great options for adding greenery to the space. Additionally, tall grasses, such as miscanthus or pennisetum, can add height and movement to the garden, even in the shade.

Creating a focal point in a north-facing garden can help draw attention to the available light. Consider adding a sculpture or a decorative mirror that can catch the sunlight and reflect it back into the space. This can add an intriguing and unexpected element, especially once the flowers and foliage start to bloom.

Architectural plants, such as yuccas or palms, can also add interest and structure to a north-facing garden. Their tall and spiky fronds create a sense of calm and add a touch of the exotic. Evergreen shrubs, such as boxwood or camellias, can provide year-round interest, even in the shade.

For a touch of color in a north-facing garden, consider adding flowering shrubs, such as hydrangeas or azaleas. These plants thrive in shady conditions and can add pops of color with their blooms. Additionally, adding plants with gold or silver tones, such as hostas or silver foliage plants, can help brighten up the space.

When it comes to additional decor elements, a firepit can be a great addition to a north-facing garden. Not only does it provide warmth and a cozy atmosphere, but it can also become a focal point that draws attention away from the lack of direct sunlight.

If space allows, creating different areas or zones in a north-facing garden can help maximize the available light. For example, a seating area near a south-facing wall or a patio with a pergola can provide pockets of sunshine throughout the day.

Overall, designing a north-facing garden may require some creativity and strategic planning, but with the right plants and decor elements, it can be a stunning and enjoyable space all year round.

8 Work with the structure

If you have a north-facing garden, you may think that your options for adding structure and interest are limited. However, there are plenty of ways to make the most of a shady spot and create a visually appealing space.

One of the best ways to work with the structure of a north-facing garden is to create a layered effect. Planting tall trees or shrubs at the back of the space can help to provide privacy and create a sense of depth. Ferns are a great choice for adding texture and greenery to the lower levels, and they thrive in shady areas.

Another option for adding interest to a shady garden is to use walls or fences. You can paint them in dark, warm tones to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Alternatively, you could use climbing plants such as ivy or honeysuckle to add greenery and create a more natural feel.

Creating a terrace or seating area can also help to make the most of a north-facing garden. By positioning a seating area where it catches the most sun, you can create a warm and inviting space to relax in. Adding lighting, such as solar-powered lights or lanterns, can also help to create a cozy atmosphere in the evening.

If you have a small north-facing garden, you can still make the most of the space by using clever planting techniques. For example, you could plant hostas, which are shade-loving plants, along the edges of the garden to create a border. This will not only add interest and color but also help to fill in any empty spaces.

When planning your north-facing garden, it’s important to consider the natural features of the space. For example, if you have a tree in your garden, you could use it as a focal point and build the rest of your garden around it. You could create a mossy area at the base of the tree or add flowering plants that will thrive in the shade.

In conclusion, while a north-facing garden may present some challenges, there are plenty of ways to make the best of a shady spot. By working with the structure of the space, adding interest with plants and lighting, and using clever planting techniques, you can create a beautiful and inviting garden.

9 Know your dark side

Evening is a magical time in the garden, but when the sun sets, nothing is quite as enchanting as a shady spot. Sarcococca, also known as sweet box, is a fantastic choice for a north-facing garden. This evergreen shrub blooms in winter and has a powerful fragrance that fills the air. Its glossy green leaves are the perfect backdrop for other shade-loving plants, like ferns and begonias.

If you want to go beyond plants, an expert can help you create a scene with lights, mirrors, and other decorative elements. They can also offer advice on landscaping, including the placement of trees that can cast shade during the hotter months.

To brighten up a shady area, consider painting a wall or fence in a light color. This will help reflect what little sunshine there is and make the space feel brighter. Mirrors can also be strategically placed to catch the sunlight and create the illusion of more light in the garden.

If you have a larger north-facing garden, consider creating an outdoor seating area with a table and chairs. This will give you a place to enjoy your shady oasis and take advantage of the coolness during hot summer days. Aged brick or silver-gray paving stones can add an elegant touch to the space, while potted plants like lavender and roses can add color and fragrance.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different plants in your shady garden. While sun-loving flowers may not thrive, there are plenty of shade-loving plants that can offer a stunning display. From delicate ferns to exquisite flower bulbs, there is a wide selection to choose from.

One way to add interest to a shady garden is to focus on foliage. Many plants with dark leaves, like Heuchera and Fatsia japonica, can add depth and texture to a garden. Tall grasses, such as Miscanthus and Pennisetum, can also create a dramatic effect.

Remember, a shady spot in the morning may receive some direct sunlight in the afternoon. Take advantage of this by planting sun-loving plants in containers. You can move them into the sun in the afternoon and enjoy their vibrant colors throughout the day.

In the dark corners of a north-facing garden, you can also try planting shade-loving perennials like hostas and astilbes. These plants can provide a burst of color and create a lush and inviting atmosphere.

So, whether you prefer a serene and calming atmosphere or a burst of color and energy, a shady garden can offer a unique and beautiful space. Just because your garden doesn’t get much sunshine, doesn’t mean it can’t be a place to enjoy and relax in.

10 Keep landscaping subtle

When it comes to a north-facing garden, it’s important to keep the landscaping subtle. This is because these areas tend to receive less sunlight, which can make it difficult for plants to thrive. However, there are still plenty of ways to create interest and make the most of a shady spot. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Use grasses: Pale silver grasses are a great option for adding texture and movement to a north-facing garden. They can provide a soft, calming element to the space.
  • Create a moss and fern table: If you have a small spot that needs some greenery, don’t be afraid to get creative. A moss and fern table can be a unique and eye-catching addition to a shady area.
  • Suit the space with shade-loving trees: Shade-loving trees, such as evergreen oaks or yews, can offer a verdant canopy for a north-facing garden. They’ll provide shelter and create a calming atmosphere.
  • Paint the walls in pale colors: When it comes to the interior decor of your north-facing garden, opt for pale colors. Light tones will help to reflect what sunlight there is and make the space feel brighter.
  • Use bricks and pavers to create a path: Adding a path to your north-facing garden can add interest and make it feel more like a destination. Consider using natural materials like bricks or pavers.
  • Fill the space with shade-loving flowers: Don’t let the lack of direct sunlight deter you from planting flowers. There are plenty of shade-loving varieties, such as begonias, that will add a pop of color to your garden.
  • Add a firepit for warmth: If you want to enjoy your north-facing garden well into the evening, consider adding a firepit. It will provide warmth and create a cozy atmosphere.
  • Create a lush green wall: When you don’t have much space to work with, vertical gardening can be a great solution. Consider installing a green wall filled with shade-loving plants like ferns and moss.
  • Sprinkling of shade-loving flowers: If you have a fence or wall that needs some attention, consider adding a sprinkling of shade-loving flowers. This will add color and interest to an otherwise blank canvas.
  • Keep it simple: Above all, when designing your north-facing garden, remember to keep it simple. Too much clutter or conflicting elements can make the space feel crowded and overwhelming.

By following these ideas, you can make the most of your north-facing garden and create a tranquil space where plants will thrive.

11 Get friendly with fronds in a north-facing garden

One of the challenges of having a north-facing garden is the lack of direct sunlight, which can make it difficult to grow flowering plants. However, there are still plenty of options for creating a beautiful and vibrant space, including using ferns.

Ferns are a great choice for a north-facing garden because they thrive in shady areas. They add a touch of natural beauty with their delicate fronds and can create a lush and green backdrop for other plants and landscaping features.

There are many different types of ferns to choose from, including those with pale, silver, or dark green fronds. Some varieties even have fronds that are tinged with gold or silver, adding a touch of elegance to your outdoor space.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, ferns also have practical benefits. They can help to improve air quality by filtering pollutants and adding oxygen to the surrounding area. They also provide a cool and refreshing atmosphere, making them the perfect addition to a shady spot.

If you have a fence or wall in your north-facing garden, you can add ferns directly beneath them to create a natural and lush border. Alternatively, you can plant ferns in pots or hanging baskets and place them strategically around your space for a more versatile and mobile display.

Another way to enhance the beauty of ferns in a north-facing garden is by adding lighting. Stake lights or fairy lights can be placed around the ferns to create a magical and ethereal atmosphere, especially in the evening or early morning when the natural light is limited.

When it comes to choosing other plants to complement your ferns, consider selecting ones that also thrive in shade, such as sarcococca or other shade-loving shrubs. This will ensure that your garden remains vibrant and colorful throughout the year.

Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your fern placement. You can use bricks or gravel to create pathways through your fern garden, or add mirrors to reflect the light and make the space feel larger.

In conclusion, ferns are a fantastic choice for a north-facing garden. They are low-maintenance, add a touch of natural beauty, and can thrive in areas with limited sunlight. By incorporating ferns into your landscaping, you can create a beautiful and inviting space that is sure to impress.

12 Color up for a brighter outlook

In a north-facing garden, the lack of direct sunlight can make the space feel dark and gloomy. However, with the right choice of plants and design elements, you can add color and brightness to your garden, making it a more inviting and enjoyable space. Here are 12 ideas to help you color up your north-facing garden:

1. Evergreen plants

Greenery is always a good idea in any garden, as it adds a sense of life and freshness. Choose evergreen plants, such as boxwood or yew, to provide year-round color and structure.

2. Small flowering plants

If you have limited space, opt for small flowering plants that can fit in containers or beds. Plants like pansies, primroses, and violas will add pops of color without taking up too much space.

3. Play with colors

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors in your garden. Mix and match plants with contrasting hues to create dynamic and eye-catching displays.

4. Works beyond flowers

Remember, color can come from more than just flowers. Look for plants with colorful foliage, such as heuchera or hostas, to add interest and vibrancy to shady areas.

5. Fill in with groundcovers

Moss and other groundcovers can thrive in the shade and offer a lush and green carpet-like effect in your garden. They are also a low-maintenance option for filling in bare patches.

6. Plan for seasonal interest

Consider plants that offer different colors throughout the year. For example, choose shrubs that bloom in spring, have bright foliage in summer, and display berries in autumn.

7. Add lighting

Good lighting can transform a dark garden into a cozy and inviting space. Place lights strategically to highlight plants and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

8. Go for silver and white

Light-colored plants, such as silver-leaved foliage or white flowers, can brighten up a shady garden. Their pale colors reflect light and create an intriguing contrast against the lush green backdrop.

9. Take advantage of neighboring trees

If your north-facing garden is overlooked by neighboring trees, consider painting their trunks with bright colors. This will create a visual focal point and add a touch of artistry to your garden.

10. Use warm bricks

If you have a north-facing wall, try using warm-colored bricks to add warmth and create a sense of sunlight. The rich tones will bring depth and character to the space.

11. Create a firepit

11. Create a firepit

A firepit can be a great addition to a north-facing garden, as it not only provides warmth but also adds a cozy and inviting ambiance. Gather around the fire and enjoy the garden even on cooler evenings.

12. Place colorful containers

If you’re limited in terms of planting space, opt for colorful containers. Choose pots in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and fill them with vibrant flowers and foliage to add a burst of color to your garden.

13 Embrace coziness in a north-facing garden with a fireplace

Having a north-facing garden may seem like a challenge when it comes to creating an inviting outdoor space. However, with some creativity and careful planning, you can make the most of this shaded area and transform it into a cozy retreat. One idea to consider is adding a fireplace to your north-facing garden.

A fireplace not only provides warmth but also adds a focal point and creates a sense of intimacy. Here are some ideas and tips to help you embrace coziness in your north-facing garden with a fireplace:

  • Calm and serene ambiance: A fireplace can create a calm and serene ambiance, especially in a north-facing garden where the lack of direct sunlight can make the space feel gloomy. The crackling sound of the fire and the warm glow can instantly make the area more inviting.
  • Best spot: Find the best spot in your north-facing garden to place the fireplace. Consider positioning it near a seating area or patio to maximize its use and create a cozy gathering spot for family and friends.
  • Green and magazine-inspired: Keep the surrounding area of the fireplace green and lush to add a touch of freshness. Consider adding potted plants or containers with shade-loving shrubs or foliage plants. Check home and interior design magazines for inspiration on creating a green and magazine-inspired fireplace area.
  • Firepit or fireplace: Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can choose between a firepit or a full fireplace. Firepits are smaller and can be portable, making them a great option for smaller north-facing gardens. Fireplaces, on the other hand, offer a more permanent and structured solution.
  • Brighter lighting: Enhance the cozy ambiance by adding soft and warm lighting around the fireplace area. Consider using string lights or lanterns to create a magical effect after sunset.
  • Shade-loving plants: Plant shade-loving flowers and foliage around the fireplace to bring color and life to the area. Choose flowers and plants that thrive in low-light areas, such as ferns, hostas, and impatiens.
  • Create an illusion of sunshine: If you miss the sunshine in your north-facing garden, consider adding reflective surfaces near the fireplace. Mirrors or metallic ornaments can create an illusion of sunlight and brighten up the space.
  • Privacy and intimacy: Use tall shrubs or trees to create privacy and a sense of intimacy around the fireplace. This will help block any views from neighboring houses and create a secluded and cozy atmosphere.
  • Keep it warm with decor: Make the fireplace area more inviting and cozy by adding blankets, pillows, and other warm decor. This will not only enhance the comfort but also add a touch of style to the space.

Embrace coziness in your north-facing garden with a fireplace and enjoy a little piece of warmth and relaxation, whether it’s just for you or for gatherings with loved ones. With the right choices in plants, lighting, and decor, you can transform your north-facing garden into a beautiful and welcoming space!

14 Set a woodland scene

If you want to play with the idea of a magical woodland in your north-facing garden, there are plenty of ideas to try. One suggestion is to find shade-loving shrubs with vibrant foliage to create a stunning color combination. Consider planting ferns, which thrive in shady areas and add a lush green feel to the space. Another option is to plant hydrangeas against walls or fences, as they will thrive in partial shade and bring a pop of color to your garden.

If you have a larger space, you could create the illusion of a woodland scene by planting trees and flowering shrubs. The morning sun catches the leaves on the trees, creating different tones throughout the day. This will add depth and interest to your garden.

For a whimsical touch, incorporate fairy decor into the space. Place fairy statues or fairy lights among the plants to create a magical atmosphere. This will not only make the garden feel enchanting, but it will also provide a destination for children and adults alike to enjoy.

Whether you have a tiny north-facing courtyard or a huge shady garden, there are plenty of ways to make it a beautiful and inviting space. The key is to choose plants that thrive in shade, such as ferns, hostas, and begonias.

To make the most of your shady space, use containers and raised beds to add layers and interest. This will allow you to create different levels and textures in your garden. Consider adding hanging baskets or trellises to add vertical height and make the most of the limited space.

If you need help designing your north-facing garden, don’t hesitate to consult a professional gardener or garden designer. They can offer expert advice and create a plan that suits your specific needs and preferences.

15 Upgrade garden ornaments

When it comes to upgrading your garden, the right decorative accents can make all the difference. Whether you have a small north-facing garden or a spacious shady spot, there are plenty of options to choose from to create a stunning outdoor scene. Here are 15 upgrade garden ornaments that will transform your space into a peaceful and beautiful sanctuary.

1. Fairy lights

Add a touch of magic to your garden by hanging fairy lights among the trees or along the walls. These delicate lights can create an illusion of stars when seen during the evening or early morning, adding a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Choose white lights for a classic look or go for colored lights to create a playful and whimsical ambience.

2. Tall mirrors

If you have a small north-facing garden, tall mirrors can work wonders in making the space feel bigger and brighter. Place them strategically to reflect the little sunshine that reaches your garden, making it appear more open and inviting. You can even find mirrors with exquisite frames that will add an elegant touch to your outdoor decor.

3. Garden sculptures

Upgrade your garden with beautiful sculptures that can serve as focal points and conversation starters. From abstract art to realistic animal figures, there are countless options available to suit your taste and garden style. Consider placing them among the plants or on pedestals to create an interesting visual composition.

4. Fern fronds

Add a touch of greenery to your shady garden with fern fronds. These delicate and feathery leaves can create a lush and tropical atmosphere in your outdoor space. Place them in containers or hanging baskets and keep them well-watered for them to thrive.

5. Grasses

For a more textured look, consider adding ornamental grasses to your garden. These tall and graceful plants can add movement and interest to your space. Choose varieties that thrive in shade and have interesting color or shape, such as silver grass or feather reed grass.

6. Garden lighting

6. Garden lighting

Having proper lighting in your garden can make a huge difference, especially during the evening or when the sunlight is limited. Install some outdoor lanterns or string lights to create a warm and welcoming ambiance. You can also place solar-powered lights along pathways or in flower beds to enhance the overall visibility and safety of your garden.

7. Moss-covered rocks

Add a touch of nature to your garden by incorporating moss-covered rocks into your decor. These natural accents can give a sense of age and serenity to your outdoor space. Look for rocks with interesting shapes and textures, cover them with moss, and place them among your plants or in a stone pathway.

8. Flower containers

Keep the beauty of flowers alive in your shady garden by planting them in containers. Choose flower varieties that thrive in low light conditions, such as impatiens or begonias. Place these containers strategically throughout your garden to add pops of color and interest.

9. Outdoor mirrors

Similar to tall mirrors, outdoor mirrors can create the illusion of a bigger and brighter space. These mirrors are specifically designed to withstand the outdoor elements and can be placed anywhere in your garden. They can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outdoor decor.

10. Garden screens

If privacy is a concern in your north-facing garden, consider adding garden screens. These decorative panels can provide some seclusion while still allowing light and airflow. You can find screens in various materials, colors, and patterns to suit your garden style.

11. Hanging baskets

Add vertical interest to your shady garden by hanging baskets with trailing plants. Choose plants with cascading foliage or flowers that will create a lush and vibrant display. Hang these baskets from tree branches, pergolas, or hooks to maximize space and visual appeal.

12. Outdoor rugs

Transform your outdoor space into a cozy terrace by adding an outdoor rug. Not only will it add warmth and comfort, but it will also define the seating area. Choose a rug with patterns or vibrant colors to create an eye-catching focal point in your garden.

13. Garden wind chimes

Add a soothing soundtrack to your garden with the gentle tinkling sounds of wind chimes. Choose chimes with different materials or tones to create a varied and harmonious melody. Hang them near seating areas or along pathways where you can enjoy their melodic tunes.

14. Plant pots

Showcase your favorite plants and flowers in decorative plant pots. Choose pots in different shapes, sizes, and colors to add visual interest to your garden. Place them strategically throughout your space to create a cohesive and balanced look.

15. Bird feeders

Attract beautiful birds to your garden by adding bird feeders. These simple and functional ornaments can bring life and movement to your outdoor space. Choose feeders that are durable and easy to clean, and fill them with a variety of seeds to attract a wide range of bird species.

16 Bring in fine dining

Creating a dining area in your shaded garden can be a great way to make the most of your north-facing space. By incorporating the right elements, you can transform your garden into a charming destination for outdoor meals and gatherings.

Lighting

Proper lighting is crucial for creating a cozy and inviting ambiance in your dining area. Hang fairy lights or lanterns above the table to provide soft, atmospheric lighting for evening meals. You can also use solar-powered lights to add a touch of magic to your space.

Furniture

Choose sturdy and weather-resistant furniture that can withstand the elements. Opt for a table and chairs that are comfortable and durable. Consider using natural materials like aged wood or brick to add a rustic touch to your dining area.

Table decor

Add a touch of elegance to your dining table by decorating it with fresh flowers, green foliage, or even a small moss-covered firepit as a centerpiece. You can also sprinkle flower petals or use colorful tablecloths to create a vibrant scene.

Shade-loving plants

When planning your dining area, take advantage of the shade by incorporating shade-loving plants. Ferns, hostas, and shrubs like boxwood and hydrangeas are great options for adding texture and lush foliage to the surrounding space.

Neighboring spaces

If your dining area is adjacent to other garden spaces, consider creating a seamless transition by using similar plants and decor. This will create a cohesive and visually appealing scene.

Aged bricks

If you want to give your dining area a more aged and rustic look, consider using aged bricks for the floor or as a decorative element. This can add charm and character to your space.

Containers

If you have a small garden or limited space, using containers can be a great solution. Choose large pots or containers and fill them with shade-loving plants and flowers. This will add color and interest without taking up too much space.

Incorporating a dining area into your shaded garden is a wonderful way to enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings. By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and inviting space that you and your guests will love.

17 Create a magical effect in a north-facing garden

Creating a magical effect in a north-facing garden may seem like a challenge, especially when you’re afraid that your plants won’t get enough sunlight. However, with the right planning and selection of shade-loving plants, you can transform your shady spot into a verdant and enchanting oasis.

1. Embrace the shade-loving plants

When it comes to a north-facing garden, shade-loving plants are your best friends. Opt for plants such as ferns, hostas, and heucheras, as they’ll thrive in the cooler and less sunny conditions. Their lush foliage will add depth and texture to your landscape.

2. Play with different plant heights

Vary the heights of your plants to create visual interest. Add tall grasses or shrubs in the back, and fill the spaces beneath with shorter plants or groundcovers.

3. Create a sense of calm with a water feature

A small water feature, such as a birdbath or a tabletop fountain, can bring a calming effect to your north-facing garden. The sound of trickling water and the shimmering reflections can create a magical ambiance, especially in the evening.

4. Add a touch of magic with fairy lights

Hang fairy lights in your north-facing garden to create a magical atmosphere. Not only will they provide gentle illumination in the evenings, but they’ll also add a whimsical touch.

5. Incorporate mirrors

Strategically place mirrors in your garden to reflect light and create the illusion of a larger and brighter space. Mirrors can also add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your landscaping.

6. Make a statement with a fire pit

A fire pit is a fantastic addition to any garden, including north-facing ones. While it may not provide warmth during the colder winter months, it can still serve as a focal point and create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

7. Fill empty spaces with containers

If you have empty spaces or bare corners in your north-facing garden, fill them with containers. Plant them with shade-loving flowers and foliage, such as begonias and ferns, to add color and interest.

8. Experiment with different textures

Use a variety of textures in your garden to create visual interest. Combine plants with different leaf shapes, such as ferns, moss, and grasses. Incorporate gravel paths or stepping stones for added texture.

9. Utilize vertical space

Don’t forget about the walls and fences in your north-facing garden. Install trellises or attach brackets to support climbing plants and vines. They’ll add vertical interest and create a lush and green backdrop.

10. Consider silver-toned foliage

Plants with silver-toned foliage can add a touch of elegance and brightness to your north-facing garden. Look for plants like lamb’s ear, artemisia, and dusty miller.

By following these tips and incorporating some expert advice, you can create a magical effect in your north-facing garden. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with different plants and features. With a little creativity, your shady spot can become a destination in your backyard, no matter the time of year.

Nothing quite beats the bonus of having a calm, verdant space to come home to every day, especially in a north-facing garden where sunlight may be scarce. So, get out there and start planning your magical garden transformation today!

18 Select shrubs for spring flowering

When it comes to creating a beautiful and colorful garden, spring is the perfect time to showcase your favorite flowering shrubs. Whether your garden is north-facing or you simply have a shady spot that needs a pop of color, selecting the right shrubs can make all the difference. Here are 18 shrubs that are known for their stunning spring blooms.

1. Magnolia

Magnolias are known for their large and showy flowers, which can come in various shades of pink, white, and purple. These elegant shrubs are a great addition to any garden and will truly make a statement.

2. Forsythia

The bright yellow flowers of Forsythia are a sure sign that spring has arrived. These shrubs are easy to grow and their vibrant color will add a touch of cheer to your garden.

3. Camellia

If you’re looking for a shrub with exquisite flowers, Camellias are a perfect choice. Their striking blooms come in a range of colors, including shades of pink, red, and white.

4. Rhododendron

Rhododendrons are known for their stunning clusters of flowers, which can vary in color from white to pink, purple, and even yellow. These shrubs are perfect for adding interest and color to shady areas of your garden.

5. Azalea

Azaleas come in a wide variety of colors and their flowers create a beautiful display in the spring. These shrubs are perfect for brightening up a shady spot or adding a splash of color to your garden.

6. Spirea

Spirea shrubs produce clusters of small flowers in shades of pink, white, or red. They are extremely hardy and low maintenance, making them a great choice for any garden.

7. Lilac

Lilacs are well-loved for their beautiful and fragrant flowers. These shrubs come in a range of colors, including shades of purple, pink, and white, and will fill your garden with their delightful scent.

8. Weigela

Weigela shrubs are known for their trumpet-shaped flowers that come in shades of pink, red, and white. These shrubs are a great way to add a touch of color and interest to your garden.

9. Pieris

Pieris shrubs produce clusters of delicate flowers in shades of white, pink, or red. These shrubs are great for adding a pop of color to a shady spot and they also have attractive foliage.

10. Viburnum

Viburnums are versatile shrubs that produce clusters of flowers in shades of white, pink, or purple. These shrubs are perfect for adding interest to your garden and they also attract butterflies and bees.

11. Kerria

Kerria shrubs are known for their bright yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. These shrubs are very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of conditions, making them suitable for almost any garden.

12. Deutzia

Deutzias are graceful shrubs that produce clusters of small flowers in shades of pink or white. These shrubs are well-suited for shady spots and their delicate flowers will add a touch of elegance to your garden.

13. Choisya

Choisya shrubs, also known as Mexican orange, produce clusters of fragrant white flowers in the spring. These shrubs are perfect for adding interest and fragrance to a shady spot in your garden.

14. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, also known as California lilac, produces clusters of small blue, purple, or white flowers. These shrubs are well-suited for gardens with sandy soil and they will attract bees and butterflies.

15. Forsythia intermedia

This variety of Forsythia produces bright yellow flowers in early spring. It is a fast-growing shrub that will quickly fill in empty areas of your garden with its vibrant color.

16. Mock orange

Mock orange shrubs produce clusters of fragrant white flowers that resemble orange blossoms. These shrubs are perfect for creating a fragrant and inviting garden.

17. Exochorda

Exochorda, also known as bride bush or pearl bush, produces clusters of white flowers in the spring. These shrubs are beautiful additions to any garden, especially when planted next to a dark fence or wall for a striking contrast.

18. Daphne

Daphne shrubs produce clusters of fragrant pink or white flowers in the spring. These shrubs are perfect for creating a focal point in your garden and their delightful scent will attract pollinators.

With so many options to choose from, selecting the right shrubs for your garden can be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you prefer vibrant colors, delicate blooms, or fragrant flowers, there is a shrub that will suit your taste. So, get out there and start creating a stunning spring display in your shady garden spot!

19 Plants for Summer Color

If you have a north-facing garden, finding plants that can thrive in the shade can be a challenge. However, there are plenty of options that can add interest and color to your garden during the summer months. Here are 19 plants that are perfect for adding a pop of color to your shady spot:

  1. Fern: Ferns are a great choice for shady gardens as they thrive in low-light conditions and add a lush and natural feel to the space.
  2. Shrubs: Choose shrubs that can tolerate shade, such as Sarcococca or Korean Boxwood. These plants have interesting foliage and some even produce fragrant flowers.
  3. Begonias: Begonias come in a variety of colors and are known for their long-lasting blooms. They are perfect for filling pots and can be a beautiful addition to your shady garden.
  4. Fairy lights: Adding fairy lights to your shady garden can create a magical and romantic atmosphere, especially during the warm summer evenings.
  5. Bricks: Use bricks to create a pathway or raised beds in your shady garden. The red tones of the bricks will provide an intriguing contrast against the green foliage.
  6. White flowers: White flowers can brighten up any shady spot. Consider planting white begonias or impatiens to add a touch of elegance to your garden.
  7. Tall plants: If you have enough space, consider planting tall plants like hydrangeas or foxgloves. These plants will add vertical interest to your garden and can create a focal point.
  8. Fairy scene: Create a fairy scene in your shady garden by adding miniature statues, a small pond, and colorful flowers. This can be a fun and whimsical addition to your outdoor space.
  9. Calm tones: Use plants with calm and muted tones, such as silver foliage or warm-toned flowers. These plants can create a tranquil and serene atmosphere in your shady garden.
  10. Firepit: Having a firepit in your shady garden can extend the usability of the space beyond the summer months. It can provide warmth during cool evenings and create a cozy atmosphere.
  11. Harriet’s woodland: If you’re a fan of the director Harriet, try creating a woodland garden inspired by her style. Use lots of greenery and shade-loving plants to create a lush and enchanting scene.
  12. Gravel: Use gravel to cover the ground in your shady garden. This can help to keep the area looking neat and tidy, as well as provide a low-maintenance solution for areas that don’t get much sunlight.
  13. Loving mirrors: Install mirrors in your shady garden to create the illusion of more space and light. Mirrors can also reflect the plants and flowers, adding depth and interest to your outdoor space.
  14. Interior trends: Take inspiration from interior design trends when planning your shady garden. Consider using muted colors, interesting textures, and unique plant combinations to create a stylish and on-trend outdoor space.
  15. Keep it simple: Sometimes less is more in a shady garden. Embrace the natural beauty of the space and keep the design simple and understated.
  16. Tabletop gardens: If you don’t have much space in your shady garden, consider creating tabletop gardens using small pots and containers. This can be a great way to add color and interest to small, shaded spaces.
  17. Aged tones: Use aged and weathered materials in your shady garden to create a rustic and charming look. Think reclaimed wood, rusty metal, and weathered stone.
  18. Less is more: In a shady garden, sometimes it’s best to embrace the lack of sunlight and create a minimalist design. Focus on a few key plants and let them shine.
  19. Year-round interest: Choose plants that provide year-round interest, such as evergreen shrubs or ornamental grasses. This way, your shady garden will still look beautiful even during the winter months.
  20. Nothing is impossible: Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things in your shady garden. With the right plants and a bit of creativity, you can create a beautiful and thriving outdoor space.

Add some or all of these plants and design elements to your shade garden and watch it come to life with color and intrigue!

20 Bring in containers for a flexible approach

Adding containers to your north-facing garden can offer a flexible and versatile solution for adding color and interest to your shady spot. Containers can be placed strategically around the garden to catch the most sunshine and create a focal point in areas that may otherwise be gloomy.

One of the best things about using containers is the ability to move them around to find the best position for each plant. This allows you to experiment with different combinations and create the illusion of more sunlight in certain areas.

When choosing containers for your north-facing garden, consider using neutral colors like white or light gray. These colors reflect more light and can help brighten up the space. Alternatively, you can use containers made from materials like terracotta or bricks, which add a rustic and natural feel to your garden.

For plants, opt for shade-loving varieties such as ferns, hydrangeas, tall begonias, and hostas. These plants thrive in shady conditions and can add lush foliage and color to your containers. You can also mix in some sun-loving plants like geraniums or marigolds if your north-facing area gets a little bit of sunshine throughout the day.

If you have a brick wall or fence in your north-facing garden, consider adding hanging baskets or climbers like clematis or jasmine to create vertical interest. These plants will fill the space and add a sense of privacy.

For a magical touch, you can also add fairy lights or outdoor lighting to your containers. This will not only create a charming atmosphere but also provide some much-needed illumination during the darker winter months.

Containers filled with a selection of plants can also act as a destination point within your garden. Place them strategically along garden paths or in spots where you want to draw attention and create interest. This could be near a seating area or by a window where you can enjoy the view.

Overall, the use of containers in a north-facing garden allows you to bring in a variety of plants, colors, and textures, effectively transforming the space into a lush and inviting area. So don’t let the lack of sunlight discourage you – get creative with your container selection and bring life to your shady spot.

21 Embrace all things green

Embracing greenery is an excellent way to create a calm and serene atmosphere in your north-facing garden. Whether you have a small or large space, incorporating various shades of green can make a huge difference in transforming your outdoor area.

One way to bring in green elements is by adding plants that thrive in shady conditions. Woodland plants such as ferns, hostas, and begonias are among the best choices for shady areas. These plants not only add color and texture with their vibrant green leaves but also create an intriguing and inviting atmosphere.

If you have a smaller space, consider using pots and containers to add greenery. You can place them strategically around the garden to create focal points and add a touch of nature to every corner. Hanging baskets with trailing plants like ivy or ferns can also be a great addition.

In terms of garden features, a firepit surrounded by greenery can be a fantastic addition to your north-facing garden. Not only does it provide warmth and a cozy ambiance, but it also adds a focal point that catches the eye. Consider using natural materials like brick or stone to create a beautiful and rustic firepit area.

Another way to embrace green is by adding a selection of shade-loving grasses. These grasses come in various shades of green, from deep emerald to silver tones, and can add movement and texture to your garden.

To keep your garden looking lush and verdant year-round, consider adding a gravel path or patio. Gravel not only gives a natural and rustic feel but also helps to keep the soil moist and cool, creating a perfect environment for shade-loving plants.

For a touch of magic, you can add fairy lights among the greenery. These twinkling lights create a whimsical and enchanting atmosphere, especially during the darker hours. Whether wrapped around trees or placed along fences, fairy lights can add a touch of sparkle to your north-facing garden.

If you’re unsure which plants are best suited for shady areas, consulting with a gardening expert or designer can be a great help. They can provide guidance on the best plant choices for your specific conditions and help you create a green oasis in your north-facing garden.

Incorporating all things green is a trend that never goes out of style. So, embrace the lushness and create a serene and calming outdoor space that you can enjoy year-round.

22 Find somewhere to sit in a north-facing garden

In a north-facing garden, finding a spot to sit and enjoy the surroundings is essential. Here are some ideas to help you create a comfortable and inviting seating area:

  • 1. Choose a sunny spot: Look for areas in your garden that get the most sunlight during the day. These spots will provide the best opportunity for you to relax and soak up the warmth.
  • 2. Consider a firepit: Adding a firepit to your seating area can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Whether you prefer a traditional wood-burning firepit or a modern gas firepit, the warm glow will make your north-facing garden more enjoyable.
  • 3. Select comfortable seating: When choosing furniture for your seating area, opt for comfortable chairs or a lounge-like sofa. Consider cushions and throws to add extra comfort and style.
  • 4. Add shade options: Even though your north-facing garden is shady, it’s still important to have some shade options. This can be an umbrella, pergola, or canopy that can be used to protect you from direct sunlight on brighter days.
  • 5. Use plants for privacy: If privacy is a concern in your north-facing garden, consider using tall plants or trellises to create a natural barrier. This will make your seating area feel more secluded and intimate.
  • 6. Create a focal point: To make your seating area more appealing, consider adding a focal point such as a decorative sculpture, a large potted plant, or a water feature.
  • 7. Incorporate lighting: To extend the usability of your seating area into the evening, add ambient lighting such as string lights, lanterns, or solar-powered lamps. This will create a cozy atmosphere and make your north-facing garden feel magical.
  • 8. Use reflective surfaces: Mirrors or metallic accents can help bounce light around your north-facing garden and make it feel brighter. Consider incorporating them into your seating area to add a touch of sparkle.

Remember, the key is to create a comfortable space where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of your north-facing garden. With a little planning and creativity, you can transform your shady spot into a peaceful oasis.

23 Blur the boundaries for the illusion of space

One of the latest trends in north-facing gardens is to blur the boundaries between different areas to create the illusion of more space. This works particularly well in shady spots where the lack of direct sunlight can make the garden feel closed in.

One way to create this illusion is by using plants with large fronds that can cover the boundaries. Ferns are a great choice for this, as they thrive in shady conditions and their lush green leaves can create a verdant backdrop. Sarah Raven, a destination for north-facing borders, suggests using white walls to create a clean and bright backdrop that works well with the lush green foliage.

Privacy is also an important consideration in a north-facing garden, especially when the lack of sunlight means that neighboring buildings or windows can overlook the space. If privacy is a concern, then tall grasses or dense foliage can be used to create a screen. Plants like sarcococca and moss can also be used to soften the edges of the garden, making it feel more intimate.

Don’t be afraid to use ideas from interior design in your garden. For example, using mirrors in a north-facing garden can help to bounce light around and create the illusion of more space. Mirrors can be placed strategically to reflect light and create interesting views, whether it’s a glimpse of the garden’s lush foliage or a view of a beautiful flower bed.

Another way to create the illusion of space is by using lighting. Garden lighting can be used to highlight certain areas of the garden at night, making it appear larger and more inviting. Whether it’s a well-placed spotlight on a tree or subtle uplighting beneath a row of begonias, lighting can add depth and drama to a north-facing garden.

When it comes to flowers, hydrangeas are a great choice for a north-facing garden. Their large blooms come in a variety of colors and can brighten up a shady spot. Adding pops of color with flowers or foliage can also help to create the illusion of more space. Mix different tones and shapes to create an interesting and dynamic display.

In the winter, when the garden is not in bloom, it’s important to find ways to add interest and texture. Evergreen plants like boxwood or yew can provide structure and shape, while grasses and other foliage can add movement and interest. Moss can also be used to add a touch of green and create a soft carpet beneath other plants.

Overall, the key to making the best of a shady spot is to embrace the conditions and find plants and design ideas that work well in those conditions. Whether it’s using ferns and fronds for a lush and green backdrop, or using mirrors and lighting to create the illusion of more space, there are plenty of ways to transform a north-facing garden into a beautiful and inviting space.

24 Fake the light

One of the biggest challenges of having a north-facing garden is the lack of direct sunlight. But fret not, there are ways to create the illusion of light and add brightness to your shady spot.

Silver foliage

Place silver-leaved plants in your garden to help reflect light and brighten up the space. Evergreen plants with silver tones, such as lamb’s ear or dusty miller, will add visual interest and shine even in the darkest corners.

Tall, dark, and green

Lush, tall evergreen trees or shrubs can help fill the space and provide a backdrop of green against the gloom. Look for varieties suited to shady conditions, like yew or boxwood, to create a natural screen that adds depth and color.

Grasses and ferns

Choose grasses and ferns that thrive in shade to add texture and movement to your garden. They’ll catch the light as they sway in the breeze, creating an intriguing play of shadows and adding a touch of natural beauty.

Brick walls and mirrors

If your north-facing garden has brick walls, use them to your advantage. Paint them in light colors to bounce off as much light as possible. Mirrors strategically placed can also help reflect light and make the space appear brighter and larger.

Fairy lights and lanterns

Adding some artificial light sources can make a huge difference in brightening up your garden. Invest in fairy lights or lanterns and place them strategically to create a warm and cozy atmosphere, especially in the evenings.

Flowers that love shade

Choose shade-loving flowers, like begonias or impatiens, to add pops of color to your north-facing garden. These plants are adapted to thrive in low-light conditions and will bring life and vibrancy to your space.

Firepit effect

If you have space, consider adding a firepit to your north-facing garden. The warm glow of a fire can create a mesmerizing effect and provide a focal point that draws attention away from the lack of natural light.

Gravel and stepping stones

Using gravel or stepping stones in your garden can help brighten up the space by reflecting whatever light it receives. Additionally, the contrasting textures and colors of the stones can create visual interest and add depth to your design.

Expert tip

Create contrast by combining plants with different foliage colors and textures. Pair dark green foliage with lighter shades, like chartreuse or silver, to create a dynamic and eye-catching effect.

With these ideas, you can fake the light in your north-facing garden and create a bright and inviting space that you’ll enjoy year-round.

25 Don’t be afraid to try something different

When it comes to designing a north-facing garden, it’s important to think outside the box and try new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different plants and features that can thrive in shady spots. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  1. Create a moss garden: Moss thrives in shady areas and can create a lush, verdant look. Consider planting different types of moss to add texture and interest to your garden.

  2. Install a water feature: Adding a water feature, such as a small fountain or pond, can help create a sense of calm and tranquility in your garden. The sound of running water can also add a soothing element to the space.

  3. Add mirrors: Mirrors can create the illusion of more space in a shady garden. Place them strategically to reflect light and make the area feel brighter and more open.

  4. Plant shade-loving flowers: There are many beautiful flowers that thrive in shady conditions. Consider planting begonias, hostas, and ferns for a burst of color and texture.

  5. Use lighting: Installing outdoor lighting can help create a welcoming atmosphere in your north-facing garden. Choose soft, warm tones to add a cozy feel to the space.

  6. Create a seating area: Make the most of your shady garden by creating a comfortable seating area. Use weather-resistant furniture and add cushions and throws for extra comfort.

  7. Build a firepit: A firepit can be a focal point in your garden and add warmth and intrigue. Enjoy cozy evenings outdoors during the cooler months.

  8. Add texture with foliage: Incorporate different types of foliage in your garden to add texture and interest. Look for plants with varying tones of green and different leaf shapes.

  9. Plant fragrant flowers: Sarcococca, also known as winter box or sweet box, is a shade-loving plant that adds a delightful fragrance to your garden. Plant them near seating areas or walkways to enjoy their scent.

  10. Get inspired by magazines: Flip through gardening magazines or browse online for inspiration on how to make the most of a north-facing garden. There are plenty of ideas and trends to explore.

  11. Create a woodland scene: Embrace the natural shade and create a woodland-inspired garden. Use plants such as ferns, hostas, and dark foliage to add depth and create a serene atmosphere.

  12. Focus on shape: In a shady garden, plants with interesting shapes can take center stage. Look for plants with unique forms or consider adding topiaries or sculptures to create visual interest.

  13. Add a touch of color with flowering shrubs: While most flowering shrubs prefer direct sunlight, there are some that can thrive in shade. Consider planting hydrangeas or flowering dogwood for a pop of color.

  14. Experiment with different ground covers: Instead of traditional grass, consider using alternative ground covers that are better suited for shady conditions. Creeping thyme, ajuga, and moss are great options to explore.

  15. Make use of vertical space: When space is limited, make use of vertical elements such as trellises, fences, or walls. Plant climbers or hang baskets to add greenery and visual interest.

  16. Add interest with texture: Use plants with interesting textures, such as ferns or ornamental grasses, to add dimension and visual appeal to your shady garden.

  17. Consider a terrace garden: If you have a north-facing terrace, make the most of the space by creating a terrace garden. Use containers to plant a variety of shade-loving plants and create a mini oasis.

  18. Use aged decor: Vintage or aged decor pieces can add character and charm to your shady garden. Look for rustic furniture, weathered pots, or antique garden accessories to create a unique look.

  19. Play with color: While many shade-loving plants have green foliage, there are some that provide bursts of color. Look for plants with colorful foliage or flowers to create visual interest in your garden.

  20. Keep privacy in mind: If you have neighbors or an adjacent house, privacy can be a concern. Use tall plants or install a trellis to create a natural screen and maintain privacy in your garden.

  21. Get inspiration from nature: Take a walk in a local park or woodland area to observe how plants naturally grow in shade. You’ll discover a variety of interesting combinations and ideas.

  22. Don’t forget about maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements of the plants and features you choose for your shady garden. Opt for low-maintenance options if you prefer a hands-off approach.

  23. Add a touch of whimsy: Incorporate fun and quirky elements into your garden to add a touch of whimsy. Consider adding garden gnomes, colorful ornaments, or unique statues for a playful vibe.

  24. Attract wildlife: Create a haven for birds and butterflies by planting flowers and providing food and water sources. A shady garden can still be a wildlife-friendly space.

  25. Consider the orientation: While north-facing gardens receive less direct sunlight, they may still get some sun during the day. Take note of where the sun hits the garden and plant sun-loving species accordingly.

  26. Think about the seasons: Choose plants that offer interest throughout the year. Look for varieties that have attractive foliage, interesting bark, or flower during different seasons to keep your garden visually appealing.

Remember, the key is to embrace the unique challenges and opportunities that come with a north-facing garden. By trying something different and thinking creatively, you can create a beautiful and thriving green space.

What are the best shade-loving plants for a north-facing garden

When it comes to a north-facing garden, one of the biggest challenges can be finding plants that thrive in shady conditions. However, there are plenty of shade-loving plants that can add color, texture, and interest to your outdoor space. Here are some top picks:

1. Grasses

Grasses are a great choice for adding movement and height to your shady garden. Some popular options include Japanese forest grass, feather grass, and fountain grass.

2. Plants with naturally dark foliage

Plants with dark foliage can add depth and contrast to your north-facing garden. Some examples include heuchera, black mondo grass, and coleus.

3. Sun-loving plants that tolerate shade

While many sun-loving plants require full sun to thrive, there are some that can tolerate shade to some extent. For example, hostas and hydrangeas can do well in a north-facing garden, as long as they get some morning sun.

4. Ferns

Ferns are another great option for a shady garden. Their delicate fronds add an intriguing texture and can create a lush and natural look. Some popular fern varieties for shade include lady fern, maidenhair fern, and Japanese painted fern.

5. Sarcococca

Sarcococca, also known as Christmas box or sweet box, is a fantastic choice for adding fragrance to your north-facing garden. This evergreen shrub has glossy dark green foliage and produces small white flowers in winter.

6. Hellebores

Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, are a beautiful addition to a shady garden. They come in a range of colors and can bloom throughout the year, making them a great choice for adding color and interest to your outdoor space.

7. Shade-loving plants for containers

If you have limited space or want to create a focal point in your north-facing garden, consider using containers. Some plants that are well-suited to shady containers include ferns, hostas, and heuchera.

8. Climbing plants

If you have walls or fences in your north-facing garden, consider adding climbing plants to create vertical interest. Some shade-tolerant climbers include ivy, clematis, and climbing hydrangeas.

9. Mirrors and light-colored walls

If you’re looking to brighten up your north-facing garden and make it feel more spacious, consider using mirrors and light-colored walls. These can help reflect light and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

By selecting the right plants and incorporating thoughtful design elements, you can create a beautiful and thriving north-facing garden that will be a destination in its own right.


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