6 garden corner shade ideas that will transform and brighten up even the darkest of areas

This is what garden experts want you to do with the neglected shaded corner of your outdoor space

A garden bench in a corner of a garden
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The sun is a hard thing to come by, especially when one finds themselves living in the UK where it hides behind clouds for the better part of the year. And on top of that, buildings and other structures can block the flow of sunlight and stop it from reaching parts of our home and garden, resulting in shaded areas and corners. But fear not, as we’ve come up with 6 corner shade ideas for those garden spots that don’t receive a lot of natural light.

Whether it’s the right things to plant in such corners or how to brighten them up, our gardening pros are brimming with creative garden shade ideas. So instead of neglecting these spots in your garden, you can embrace them and make them your new favourite place. You’ll see.

A shaded corner of a garden with large plant pots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

6 garden corner shade ideas

‘A shaded corner is the ideal opportunity to take advantage of your garden,’ says Tom Clifford from Gardenstone enthusiastically.

And that alone makes us feel excited about transforming these forgotten areas of the garden into something you and the whole family will enjoy.

1. Fill it with shade-loving plants

Flower beds in a garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Filling the corner with the best bedding plants for shade is the perfect way of utilising the area, while also brightening it up and giving it a pop of colour.

‘The best way to brighten up a shady spot in a garden is actually planting some shade-loving plants that will thrive there,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners’ gardening expert. ‘Even in the darkest of north-facing gardens, it’s absolutely possible to achieve this effect with colourful plants.’

And if you know everything about how to grow foxgloves, you’ll also be aware that these beautiful, vibrant plants thrive in the shade.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

A patio with a garden chair and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Massey)

‘Many flowers like the shade and are easy to take care of. Foxgloves are a woodland plant that thrives in partial shade. Many of its cultivars and varieties come in different colours and have different bloom shapes. However, keep in mind that even though most thrive in partial shade, some require more sun,’ Petar says.

But it’s not just foxgloves that like the shade. For example, ferns do too. ‘Ferns are one of the most popular plants for shaded environments as they grow well in areas of limited sunlight. If you’re looking for a plant that will take up an abundance of space whilst adding texture and vibrancy then fern is the perfect choice,’ Tom recommends.

2. Create a seating area

A garden bench in a corner of a garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Sitting in the garden in the summer months exposed to the scorching sun the entire time is not ideal. Not to mention quite unhealthy. So creating a seating nook even with just a garden bench idea is the perfect solution.

‘Create a seating area for relaxing and watching nature. This can be as simple as placing a small bench in the corner of your garden to offer respite and tranquillity during long sunny days,’ Tom suggests.

3. Place grouped potted plants or a potting station

Potted plants in the corner of a patio

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Your shaded corner planting doesn’t necessarily have to be done directly into the ground. Especially if you have a paved garden corner, you can use the space as a display area for a group of potted plants.

‘You can place a grouping of potted plants in a shady corner,’ Petar suggests.

Tom adds, ‘Similarly, if you have lots of potted plants this shaded area can be used as a potting station to store your tools and undertake the process within the shade.’

4. Make it into a children’s play area

A play area in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

But let’s not forget about the little members of the family (if you do happen to have some). As a shaded corner can be the perfect spot for a play area for children, away from the reaches of the sun, which they are significantly more vulnerable to.

‘You can use the shady area for a children’s play area and add green walls, artificial grass, and kid's playground areas,’ Petar says.

5. Paint the surrounding fence a bright colour

A corner of a patio with a garden chair and side table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

It’s rare for a lick of paint not to solve a neglected-looking area of both the home and the garden. And this situation is no exception as this garden fence idea can instantly brighten up your shaded garden corner.

‘If your shaded corner is positioned on a garden boundary then it may be worth using paint to brighten up the space. A light neutral shade, like stone, is perfect for adding a subtle brightness to your garden whilst still allowing it to blend in with the natural environment. In addition, painting your garden fence a light shade will be effective in reflecting light throughout the shaded region,’ Tom explains.

6. Use it for barbecuing

An outdoor kitchen with a BBQ bordered by a white fence

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Do you have a designated area for your best BBQ? Because if not, a corner shade might do you good while cooking up a storm for your friends and family.

‘Instead of neglecting shaded areas of your garden, why not use them for practical purposes, for example, creating a designated area for your BBQ. Barbecuing is often a lengthy and tedious task so it is a good idea to undertake it in a shaded area, out of direct sunlight,’ Tom says.

Add to basket

Now all that’s left to do is sprucing up that shaded corner in your garden and turning it into a destination no less.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.