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Landscaping Ideas for Shade

We have to be clear on our definition of shade in order to come up with the right landscaping ideas for shade. Technically, any area of a yard that receives less than 6 hours of direct sunlight is considered shade. Much of the shade in a yard is created by shadows cast by trees, houses, and outdoor buildings.

Other shade is deliberately created by Houston landscaping professionals. These shady spots are created for both aesthetics and practicality. It depends on where they are located and the type of landscaping style they are intended to support.

One of the more popular landscaping ideas for shade is the use of colorful ground cover plants as lawn alternatives in places where grass has difficulty growing. Ground cover is both practical and decorative. Many species that are highly colorful are also drought resistant, so the cost of watering the lawn can be drastically reduced.


The diversity of ground cover species allows Houston landscaping designers to choose plant types that can support any number of design styles. Due to the highly attractive nature of these plantings, they have an almost garden-like sense about them.

These lawn alternative plantings provide us with ideal locations for walkways and patios where people can enjoy the cooler side of life even on a hot August day.

Other landscaping ideas for shade involve creating new dimensions of form by mixing light and shadow. Colors look more multidimensional under the dappled light of partial shade. Certain plant textures are also accentuated by shadows that would otherwise appear flattened in direct sunlight.

Shade gardens use this technique extensively to make plants that grow under trees stand out with a sense of strong impression that does not depend exclusively on color or size to appeal to the senses.

In darker shade, of course, lighter colors have to be chosen in order to offset the heavy shadow. Many shade resistant species feature very bright leaves that work very well in these settings. Some also bloom brightly enough to stand out even in the darkest of places underneath trees.

Landscaping ideas for shade are not restricted to planting ground covers and shade gardens, however. Many of the more complex designs work to combine shade with landscape architecture.

People associate shade with a sense of retreat. A number of landscape elements can be constructed that provide residents with places to enjoy the outdoors from a perspective of relaxed comfort.

Many kinds of outdoor rooms can be built by simply building a patio in a shaded area that provides residents with relief from the full force of the sun. Shade can be created with a simple roof over the patio that is supported by columns spaced around the patio’s edge.

Other landscaping ideas for shade call for the construction of outdoor buildings with furnished interiors. Outdoor kitchens, garden pergolas, and garden gazebos are some of the more popular forms.

The interiors of such buildings offer not only the benefit of a shaded place to sit, but also feature basic climate controls that make it possible to bring the comfort of a living room into the world of outdoor living.