how to create a shade loving summer garden

You can easily grow your fresh produce at home with access to sunlight, soil, water, and nutrients. But too much isn’t good as always. In hot weather, it is best to provide afternoon shade for many vegetables in your garden.

Plants that are shaded act as “sunscreens.” Gardening isn’t only about growing food – it’s also about learning new skills, having fun, and spending quality time outdoors. And today, we will learn how to create a beautiful shade garden. So dig on.

Reasons to provide afternoon shade to your garden:

  1. Shade is a valuable resource for many plants, especially those sensitive to direct sunlight and heat. Trees, shrubs, or other plant materials can provide shade. There are several reasons why providing some form of shade in the afternoon is important. These include:
  • Shade protects from direct sun, high temperatures, and wind. This can help prevent damage to leaves, stems, buds, and fruits.
  • It allows for slower growth rates among warm-weather crops. For example, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant grow slowly in full sun but do better with afternoon shade.
  • It decreases weed activity. Many weeds thrive under direct sunlight, while others don’t.
  • Shady areas may attract birds and butterflies. Even though they may not spend all their lives in the garden, these creatures are attracted to shady areas because they prefer cooler temperatures. Birds like to nest in sunny places but often use shady spots for roosting during cold nights. The same goes for butterflies. They prefer areas where there is plenty of vegetation for nectar feeding. So make sure you provide a variety of plants for them to enjoy.
  • Shady areas can improve air quality. Trees and bushes remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis (the process of making sugar using light energy). This reduces the number of harmful greenhouse gases in the air. Some studies suggest that planting a tree yearly increases oxygen levels by up to 10 percent.
  • Shady areas may reduce pest populations. Insect pests such as aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, and squash bugs are most active when temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. With less sunlight available, these insects become sluggish and easier to control.
  • Shady areas can reduce irrigation needs. If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, consider providing a small shade area. During the day, rainwater runs off into the ground and doesn’t soak into the soil as fast. That means you’ll need to rinse less frequently.
  • Shady areas may increase yields. As mentioned above, many vegetables do well in partial shade. This applies to both annual and perennial vegetable varieties. Some examples include cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, carrots, beans, peas, greens, lettuce, spinach, onions, and garlic.
  • Shady areas are more attractive. A lushly planted area looks great and visually appeals to any yard or garden. You can even add flowers to the mix.
  • Shady areas can offer privacy. When choosing what plants to place near your house, consider whether you want to block views of your neighbors’ homes. Some types of plants, such as rosebushes, require little maintenance. Others, such as bamboo, need regular trimming. If you’re unsure which plants will work best, ask your local nursery or gardening store professional for advice.
  • Photosynthesis provides sufficient energy in the morning sun without causing excessive heat stress, as does prolonged exposure to the sun during the day.
  • When plant leaves are shaded, water is less likely to be lost through transpiration evaporation from the leaves.
  • Temperatures above 100°F stress most vegetables. Shade keeps direct sunlight off foliage, and shaded areas can be about 10°F cooler than areas without shade.

Here is how you can easily create a shadow garden

1. Garden design that creates shade

Learning how to use sunlight when gardening in a hot climate is important. Unfortunately, low deserts and other hot climates do not have full-sun directions.

Look for areas in your yard where the sun shines in the morning and is shaded in the afternoon. These spots are ideal planting locations, especially if you have a summer garden. Vegetables that need shade can be grown in these areas. Also, a south or west-facing part of your yard will probably need shade.

2. Use shade cloths

Protecting your plants from the sun’s intense heat is important in a hot climate. However, you don’t want to lose those tender leaves because they’re too sensitive to damage. Luckily, there are many ways to provide shade in the garden without sacrificing your plant life.

One way to do this is to use shade cloth. This fabric protects from the sun while allowing light to pass through. Shade cloth comes in several coverings, including 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and 90%.

The amount of shade cloth needed depends on how much sunlight your garden receives. For example, suppose you live in a part of the country where the sun shines directly overhead every day. In that case, you’ll likely need less coverage than someone living near the equator.

You can purchase shade cloth online or at local home improvement stores. Be sure to measure the space you plan to cover carefully. Once you know what size you need, buy enough to fit properly.

3. Use sunflowers

To provide shade in your garden, plant sunflowers. Seeds of sunflowers are easy to grow. Plants surrounding sunflowers can benefit from their shade, depending on the variety.

Sunflowers can provide shade for your garden when planted west or south. They often reseed once they have been planted in a garden. It is easy to remove unwanted volunteers.

Cut off the stem at the base of the dirt rather than pulling the entire stem out at the end of the season to prevent pulling out the entire root system.

As the root decomposes, organic matter will be added to the soil. Arizona’s low desert is a good place to plant sunflowers between February and July.

4. Make your garden shaded with umbrellas

Umbrellas are one of the best ways to add shade to your outdoor space. Unlike trees, they don’t require much maintenance and can be set up almost anywhere.

You can use many types of umbrellas, including patios, gazebos, and large canvas umbrellas. Some people prefer to purchase a readymade umbrella, while others enjoy building their own. You can find everything from kits to instructions online.

Umbrellas come in both fixed and folding styles. Fixed umbrellas typically consist of three parts: the canopy, the stand, and the pole. Folding umbrellas are usually made of aluminum tubing and fold into a compact size.

In either case, you can buy umbrellas in various sizes and colors. If you choose to make your own, there are several materials you can use, including wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass, and fabric. Fabric umbrellas are particularly easy to assemble and inexpensive.

Your chosen material depends on how long you want the umbrella to last. For example, plastic and fiberglass umbrellas break easily over time, whereas wooden and metal umbrellas are durable and won’t rot like plastic ones.

5. Plant vines in your garden to create shade

If you want shade for plants that can’t tolerate full sun, consider planting sun-loving vines, Armenian cucumbers, Malabar spinach, hyacinth beans, etc. Take note of where you can place shade-producing plants in your garden.

Vine vegetables can be planted over dormant artichoke crowns to protect artichoke crowns from the extreme summer heat. Vining plants that love heat should be grown on the south or west trellises.

Here are some common shade-loving plants

Many shade-loving plants exist, including ferns, impatiens, begonias, and hostas. However, each plant requires different amounts of shade and different growing conditions to thrive.

How much shade do they need

Ferns generally prefer more shade than other types of shade-loving plants. They will tolerate some sun but prefer shady conditions. Impatiens need partial sun to full shade to grow well.

Begonias also prefer shady conditions but can tolerate some sun. Finally, hostas need the partial sun to full shade to grow well.

What they need to thrive

All of these plants require moist soil and regular watering to thrive. Ferns also benefit from high humidity levels. Impatiens require soil rich in organic matter.

Begonia leaves should be sprayed with water regularly to prevent them from drying out. Hostas benefit from a layer of mulch around their base.

Here are the best flowers for a shade garden

Many types of flowers can thrive in a shade garden. Some of the best include impatiens, begonias, coleus, and fuchsias.

Sunlight requirements:

Shade gardens should be located in an area that receives less than six hours of direct sunlight daily. This can be achieved by planting under trees or shrubs or using awnings or other structures to create shade.

Watering needs:

Flowers in a shaded garden must be watered more frequently than those in a sunnier location. This is because they will lose moisture more quickly due to evaporation. Therefore, it is essential to check the soil regularly to ensure it is not drying out too quickly.

Some common mistakes people make when creating a shade garden:

1. Not considering the amount of sun or shade the garden will receive.

2. Not preparing the soil properly before planting.

3. Not choosing appropriate plants for the sun or shade they will receive.

4. Planting too close together and not giving plants enough room to grow.

5. Not mulching properly or at all.

6. Overwatering.

7. Leaving containers sitting in the sun.

8. Placing pots higher than the ground level.

9. Using non-durable materials such as paper for planters.

10. Choosing colorful flowers instead of blooming perennials.

11. Choosing decorative annuals.

Here are some tips for a beautiful shade garden

1. Start with the right plants. Choose small, compact shrubs and perennials that will grow into a bush in one season or two. Don’t be afraid to mix sizes – you can always thin out later.

2. Plant in groups of three or more so your eye is drawn around the garden. You don’t want to see only one plant but a series of plants.

3. Use foliage plants like petunias, salvia, or lobelia if you have limited space. These plants won’t take up much room yet give off a lot of colors.

4. Fill in areas between smaller plants with taller ones. Use taller flowering plants like geraniums, marigolds, or zinnia.

5. Keep the soil moist during spring and early summer until new growth starts. After that time, reduce the watering frequency.

6. Once new growth starts, feed your plants every few weeks with a fertilizer designed specifically for shade environments.

7. Give your plants plenty of light once the weather warms up.

8. Mulch the base of each container. If possible, use peat moss or another type of organic material. This will help keep roots cool and damp.

9. Place your containers on a raised bed filled with rich, dark soil.

10. Water thoroughly after planting, then again about a week later. Be sure to remove any dead or damaged leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. What Common Shade-Loving Plants Can Be Included In A Summer Garden?

Some common shade-loving plants that can thrive in a summer garden include hostas, ferns, azaleas, impatiens, and hydrangeas. These plants are known for tolerating low light conditions and still producing beautiful foliage and flowers. They add texture, color, and interest to a shade garden.

2. How Can I Design A Shade Garden To Make It Visually Appealing?

What Common Shade-Loving Plants Can Be Included In A Summer Garden?
Some common shade-loving plants that can thrive in a summer garden include hostas, ferns, azaleas, impatiens, and hydrangeas. These plants are known for tolerating low light conditions and still producing beautiful foliage and flowers. They add texture, color, and interest to a shade garden.

3. Are There Any Special Considerations For Watering A Shade Garden In The Summer?

In a shade garden, the soil stays moist for longer due to reduced evaporation caused by less direct sunlight. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of overwatering. Always check the soil’s moisture level before watering to avoid saturating the plants. Additionally, consider using a layer of mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and reduce the need for frequent watering.

4. Can I Grow Vegetables In A Shade Garden During The Summer?

While most vegetables require full sun to thrive, a few can tolerate partial shade. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale, as well as herbs like cilantro and parsley, are some examples of vegetables that can grow in the shade. However, remember that they may not produce as abundantly as in full sun. Be sure to choose the right varieties labeled as suitable for shade gardening.

5. How Can I Improve The Soil Quality In A Shade Garden?

Improving soil quality is essential for the health and vitality of plants in a shade garden. Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enrich the soil and improve its structure.

This will improve drainage in heavy soils and increase water-holding capacity in sandy soils. You can also consider adding a slow-release organic fertilizer to provide nutrients to the plants throughout the growing season.


Sunlight is sure an important element when the talk is about growing vegetables. But too much of anything isn’t good for anything. Most plants stress out too much sunlight, so shading them is important. I hope the article has given you the right idea for creating a shade garden.

About the Author

Virginia E. Hayes is a gardening enthusiast who loves to write about gardening tools, safety issues, and ways to keep gardens clean and safe. With her vast experience in gardening, she provides valuable insights and tips to help fellow gardening enthusiasts to enhance their gardening experience. Her passion for gardening and writing has made her a sought-after author in the gardening community.

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