Garden experts reveal 5 top tips to make the most of north facing gardens

Don't be left in the dark with these gardening tricks
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  • South-facing gardens have the advantage of all the sunshine, and therefore tend to be more sought-after. However choosing a home with a north facing garden no longer means having to compromise a beautifully lush outdoor space.

    We talk to the gardening experts to find how how best to achieve a thriving plot, even when your garden is mostly in the shade.

    ‘By simply taking the time to learn about the plants which prosper in an environment with little sunshine, achieving a flourishing garden is surprisingly easy,’explains Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express.

    A variety of plants have been introduced to the UK gardening scene which don’t require lots sunlight, making them better suited to north facing gardens.

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    Top tips for a flourishing north facing garden

    north facing gardens

    Image credit: Val Corbett

    1. Know your shade

    It’s important to understand the type of shade that envelops your garden, in order to identify how best to deal with it.

    ‘For some there may only be light shade which is open to the sky but with no direct sunlight, whilst others may have deep shade due to a dense tree cover. Taking the time to do this will make the process of choosing suitable plants that little bit easier. Some plants like the Hosta family thrive under light shade, whilst the ‘ soft shield’ fern can blossom in dry shade with little to no sun.’

    2. Make the most of the light

    Any obstructions to sunlight must be removed, including any trees or structures in order to maximise light levels. ‘Remove a layer of leaves from a particular dense canopy to do this, or look at lowering imposing hedges that may obstruct light.’

    3. Choose wisely

    north facing gardens

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    It’s important to understand that different plants have different needs. Some require large amounts of sun and thrive in dry conditions. Others only prosper in shady and damp areas, perfect for planting in north facing gardens.

    ‘Try planting flowers which do well in limited light conditions often reserved for winter like Snowdrops or Cyclamen Coum which are revered for their hardy properties.’

    4. Lawn-care

    Majority of full-turf grasses will require a large amount of sunlight and without they can end up deteriorating and becoming prone to disease. Therefore, extra care is required to avoid the lawn becoming sparse due to the lack of sunlight.

    ‘Ensure the grass is fed and not cut too often or look at putting down a shade friendly species of grass. Such as those from the Fescue family, all of which are incredibly adaptable to varying amounts of shade.’

    5. Create light

    north facing gardens

    Image credit: David Woolley

    Fake it till you make it. There are clever ways to create ‘fake’ light in the garden. ‘A popular method includes installing a pond. The water will reflect much needed light. For a cheaper often consider adding mirrors to an outbuilding or decorating pieces which will utilise the little light.’

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    Is yours a north or south facing house? Make the most of your space no matter which it is.

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