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If you have a north-facing garden it is likely that you will get a bit of sun in the evening between May and October but mostly it will be in the shade. This can make it tricky to grow some plants, especially the heat-loving types which thrive with the midday sun. Whether you have a small courtyard type space or a larger shaded plot though, it is still possible to create a great space. You just need to be a bit more creative. We’ve put together some suggestions for making the most of your north-facing garden.
Brighten the Boundaries
If you have a shady garden you could consider brightening it up by painting any brick or woodwork. Traditionally, fences have been painted in more muted colours but with so many good quality colours available now you could consider going for something a little more bold and daring. Before you start painting your panels, it’s a good idea to check their condition and order replacement fence panels if you need them.
If you don’t fancy painting your fence panels you can add a splash of colour to your outdoor space by choosing colourful pots and shade-loving plants. Or maybe even consider using a raised bed to create a small herb garden that will look and smell great. Avoid Mediterranean herbs, instead choose plants like chives, coriander, parsley and rocket which will do better with less sunlight.
If you hardly ever get the sun in your garden, why not consider using composite decking to create an extension of your indoor living space. Maybe you could turn it into a cosy snug or an outdoor dining area? With so many outdoor soft furnishings out there now, it’s easier than ever to create a welcoming outdoor space.
Composite decking is also a good way to even out sloping ground which makes it perfect if the little sun your garden does get is in a bit of an awkward area.
Our range of easy to install composite decking is made from recycled materials and has a 25-year guarantee. It won’t warp or splinter and is also slip-resistant – you can even walk on it with bare feet!
Dine Al Fresco
Despite the unpredictable British weather, we seem to have taken nicely to a spot of outdoor dining. For us, nothing looks better in the garden than natural timber furniture.
You can make your shady space warmer and more welcoming by choosing some clever lighting or even using patio heaters. You might also want to think about using a wood burner or fire pit to create a cosy space log after the sun has set. There’s nothing better than sitting around with friends listening to the crackle of firewood.
Avoid cutting down trees
If you have a north-facing garden, it can be tempting to cut down trees to make the most of what little sun you do have. This is not always the best idea. Trees are a great way of drawing the eye upwards and making the most of narrow spaces. They also encourage wildlife into your garden.
Instead, think about getting someone in to shape higher trees or think about pruning ground lower bushes and branches yourself. You will be surprised by how much extra space you make and you might even end up creating the perfect spot for something like a secluded sleeper seat.
Create a woodland feel
While it is possible to grow grass in shady areas, it will need more maintenance. You’ll have to regularly feed it and avoid cutting it too often. If you’re looking for something more manageable, you could consider using a bark or woodchip mulch to create more of a woodland feel.
Line the ground you are covering with a geotextile membrane first which will prevent weeds from rooting and allow drainage. Then, when the ground is prepared, plant up with green foliage like ferns and add a splash of colour with shade-loving plants like Bellflowers before covering any spaces with your mulch.
Of course, these are just a few suggestions, really the possibilities are endless. You’ll find more tips and ideas on our Knowledge base or browse our Gardening, Fencing and Landscaping pages to see our full range and get inspiration for your north-facing space.