Backyards are at a premium in places like Pine Island, NY, so many tend to be small and shady. However, a heavily shaded yard need not be unattractive. By taking advantage of various techniques, a shady yard can be made cozy and rich in color and warmth. The issues with shaded yards vary—a yard can be shady all day or receive shafts of sunlight at certain times. Or perhaps it is only shady during the winter. Whichever the reason, there is always a solution.
Boldness Redresses the Balance
Low light levels make things appear smaller. Employing boldness in every aspect, from layout to plantings, improves the situation. Making paved areas generous, borders deep, and containers as big as the space allows can make a huge difference to the visual appeal of the landscape. A wide variety of plantings, with one or two vibrant plants placed at regular intervals to draw attention, can add character, brightness and beauty.
Incorporate Light Colors to Bounce in Light
Dark colors promote gloom in a shady yard. A fresh coat of white paint on walls reflects more light, or even better, veneer your home or boundary walls with a light colored, quartz rich stone such as sandstone. Timber structures can be easily transformed with a coat of white paint or a light colored stain.
Inject Warmth into Surfacing Materials
Avoid slate chippings, khaki pavers or dull grey on surface materials as these can appear drab in shade, particularly when wet. Instead, go for warm, pale honey-colored stone or warm colors such as brick red for flooring materials.
Under a tree that promotes shade, the ground can be carpeted with variegated ivy or different varieties of wild cyclamen that can be grown all year round. If heavily shaded, the area can be graveled with a light colored aggregate and a variety of decorative planters to liven things up.
Amazing levels of lighting can be achieved by pruning trees and shrubs that have become too large into a more sophisticated, open shape.
Arrangement of Ornaments and Vistas
The more shady the backyard, the more important it is to place things well. Features such as ornamental urns, wall-fountains and site benches should be placed in areas with more light, to make them more visible. Brighter features can be left to shaded areas to lighten up the space. Remember to consider different views, not just from the entrance, but from all across the yard and looking back at the house.
Ambient lighting can be employed to improve the mood, particularly in the evening, however if necessary can also be used during the day. Ambient lights can be installed close to the ground, with soft light being directed to highlight backyard features. This ensures that the viewer sees only soft light and shadows and is not affected by the glare of the bulb. The lights can be hidden behind foliage to be less visible, and provide a soft glow at night.
Lighting should be kept to a low level, with many small sources of light. This provides a better ambience than fewer, more concentrated light sources.