collaborative post // It’s good to have some shade in your garden to shelter under on a hot day. At the same time, you don’t want your garden to be too shady – there may be times when you want to bask in the sun, and of course you won’t be able to grow plants without some daily sunlight.
The orientation of your garden and the presence of any local obstacles is likely to have a big impact on sunlight levels, and there may not be much you can do to alter this. However, there are still some small measures you can take to add more sun or shade as this guide delves into.
Trees can help to provide shade within your garden. Different types of trees will provide different levels of shade. Many will still allow a small amount of sunlight to filter through, which could benefit some plants like ferns and violas that prefer low levels of sunlight.
Deciduous trees will shed their leaves in winter, so you won’t get any shade from them during these months. However, this could be beneficial for homes in colder climates, helping to maximise warmth from the sun in the winter.
Some trees are fast-growers and can develop a very wide crown. This could result in too much shade if you’re not careful. Consider looking into services like trimming and tree lopping if a tree’s branches are starting to become a bit too unruly.
Higher fences around your garden will help to provide more shade as well as more privacy. Lower fences can meanwhile maximise sunlight, however your privacy could be negatively impacted.
If you want to let through light but maintain some privacy, you could opt for higher fences but with small gaps between slats or lattice panels. These small gaps and holes will let some light in so that you can still grow plants, while still distorting much of the view into your garden.
What about if you want total privacy, but still want to let light through? Believe it or not, but there is a solution: frosted glass panels. These will let in light while obscuring the view into your garden.
There are many different types of overhead canopy that can help to provide shade to areas of your garden. This includes fabric sunshades, patio umbrellas, marquees, pergolas and awnings.
You could opt for permanent fixed canopies to provide constant shade, or you could opt for portable or retractable canopies to give you the choice to alternate between sun and shade.
For example, patio umbrellas can be taken up or down to provide shade when you need it. You can also install retractable awnings over patios and even glass awnings with plantation shutter slats that can provide constant shelter against while giving you the option of sun or shade.
Finally, you can consider raising areas of your garden to increase sunlight exposure during certain times of the day. For example, if there is a suntrap at the end of your garden, you could consider building a raised deck here to provide 20 minutes extra sunlight in the evening.
Be wary that the platforms themselves may cast a shadow onto the rest of the garden. Certain decking styles may be able to still let some light through so that the rest of the garden isn’t as shady.