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Gardening in the Shade

It's springtime! Spring is a wonderful time to plant new flowers to add color to your garden. In some cases though, brightening up a shady part of your landscape can be a challenge. Take heart! There is a way to introduce that bright spot of colorful blooms and green plants to the shady parts of your landscape. All you need is a little knowledge of what to put in your garden.

How Shady is the Space?

Before planting your garden, take into consideration just how much shade or sun that space gets. Keep an eye on the area for a little while as the amount of sun exposure can influence how well certain plants do in that space. The categories for shade usually are described as:

Partial Shade: Different parts of the garden receive exposure to direct sun for part of the day and in shade for at least half a day (or three hours during the hottest part of the day).

Filtered or dappled shade: Sun is largely filtered through a tree canopy leaving dappled light on the plants below.

Light or open shade: This space is often bright with fairly even shade throughout the day. These shade spaces are open to the sky but are surrounded by walls, tall trees, or other shade structures.

Full or deep shade: These plants are in areas with little to no direct sunlight. Often beneath dense evergreen trees.

How Much Room Do You Have?

Take into consideration just how much room you have to plant your garden. Are you limited to urns or flower pots? Do you have a large amount of space to fill with flowers and greenery? This can determine the type of plant you can use as some plants will grow quickly and fill the space, while others will stay small and can be planted a bit closer together. Knowing exactly how much room you have to plant can also prevent multiple trips to the store if you under or overestimate just how many plants and flowers to buy.


In a shady space, mulching your garden can be an important step. It can help retain moisture, keep the beds sheltered from cold, and add much needed nutrients to the soil. When mulching your beds, be sure to add 3-6 inches of an organic mulch while keeping it clear from the base of any tree trunks or stems. Don’t forget to replenish the mulch once a year.

Consider your Plants

Now that you’ve figured out your garden’s location, picked out your mulch, and observed how much shade the garden will receive you can now delve into what types of plants that will work with the space. Nurseries and home improvement stores can help guide you in knowing exactly what plants to use in the space you have. Of course, Pacific Vista Landscape is here to help. We can help you design your garden scape to make your spring gardens look fantastic!

Happy Planting!

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