Shady spots can be an oasis of tranquil escapism and hold a lot of charm. The first step is to really plan what are you aiming to do in the garden, view from the house, sit in it, entertain in it. Then divide your thoughts between paving and hard landscaping and the plantings.
Think about textures in hard landscaping. Mixed textured paving is a lot better for shady and damp gardens because it reduces slip hazards, algae growth and maintenance. Or combine it with gravels or larger pebbles or simple terraces linked together using combinations of colour. These should be well thought through and spacious enough for their desired use.
Many shady gardens really don’t suit grass, be it dry shade or damp shade, lawns just don’t enjoy the location so gravel paths will always look better and be easier to maintain. Combine gravel paths with luxuriant borders of evergreen plants mixed with shade lovers such as Hosta, Ferns and bamboos for an atmosphere which is tropical and jungle like.
Often wood suffers in a shady garden, always feeling cool to the touch and not offering the inviting seat you imagine. Try classical metal or woven textile styles and use deep cushions which can be brought in and out as needed.
The ultimate way to make the space feel special and inviting on the shadiest of days is to organise some seating around a fire pit – long summer evenings and winter days can be spent here really making the most of the outdoor room!
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