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How to Grow in a North-Facing Garden

15th May

Growing in a north-facing garden can feel like you are behind before you have begun. However, there are vast opportunities to maximise growing even in the most shaded areas of your garden.

So what is a North-Facing Garden and Why is it a Problem?

The characteristics of a north-facing garden mean that it is predominantly in the shade throughout the day leading to cooler temperatures. Because of this, varieties of plants can suffer from the lack of sunlight, so it is key to consider your options before purchasing unsuitable additions to your garden.

Continue reading to discover our top tips on making the most of your north-facing garden and take it from us, it has a lot of potential!

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How to Encourage Light in your North-Facing Garden

Just because your garden is north-facing, it doesn’t mean there will be no sunlight at all. Some areas may receive snippets of light throughout the day, especially in summer.

Having large trees in your garden can make it appear darker, due to them blocking the light. To help tackle this, trim the lower branches to help create gaps, encouraging more sunlight into your garden.

Another tip to make your garden appear lighter is to plant white or light-coloured flowers such as snowdrops. A green garden is amazing but it is also great to break it up with colour. This enhances the lighter areas of your north-facing garden.

What Plants to Grow in a North-Facing Garden?

Growing in a north-facing garden tends to mean the plants will spend most of their time in the shade. Some include; Hostas, Snowdrops and Lily of the Valley. Knowing which plants will perform best is essential in creating a luscious, healthy garden. Below we have collected a handful of shade-loving plants to help get you started.


Hostas are a great addition to any garden not just a shaded one. Due to them being known for their large foliage, Hostas are fantastic at filling gaps in your garden. Add them to your borders or beds to make your garden appear greener and fuller.

The only downside to hostas is that they are extremely susceptible to slug damage because of their big green leaves. Using a pest control method is crucial through wetter weather to ensure the slugs and snails stay away.


If you are looking for a spring bulb that grows in the shade, then snowdrops are the answer. Snowdrops are native to woodlands so are known for growing well in lightly shaded, well-drained areas. As mentioned earlier, snowdrops produce dainty white flowers shaped like bells, so add hints of white throughout your garden brightening up the space.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is another woodland native species happy to grow in cool areas. This pendant bell-shaped flower produces a light, fresh scent throughout spring and makes beautiful cut flowers that you can feature in your home.

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How to Make the Most of the Space

Making the most of your garden is so important, no matter how big or small the space you have is. Planting in pots is a fantastic space-saving method that benefits a north-facing garden. Pots are easy to move so can be adjusted depending on the season and sunlight. If your plant is looking in need of some TLC you can simply pick it up and move it to a better location.

Does vertical growing help?

Vertical growing is another method that will benefit a shaded area as the higher plants are grown the closer they are to reach the sunlight. Building a trellis or wigwam will help plants grow vertically as it encourages them to reach for the light promoting fast growth.

Should I replace my lawn?

Another tip for making the most of your garden is to ditch your lawn. This may seem excessive, but if your garden remains in the shade all through summer, your lawn may struggle to survive.

Replace your lawn with a rockery full of succulents that love the shade or even a seating area surrounded by pots. There are many ways in which you can make the most of your space it is just finding the ones which will suit your garden.

Encourage Wildlife to your North-Facing Garden

Nothing beats sitting outside enjoying your garden while being surrounded by wildlife. Encouraging wildlife in your garden may seem unnecessary, however, wildlife help pollinate flowers, deter pests and even improve soil quality.

Tasks such as building a bug hotel or hanging bird feeders are excellent ways to encourage wildlife and they’ll soon begin to offer a helping hand around the garden.


Overall growing in a north-facing garden has endless possibilities from planting in pots to shade-loving plants. Every garden has potential no matter the size! Why not put some of our north-facing gardening tips into place and watch how the space will transform?

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    Organic seaweed fertiliser improves plant growth and health.
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About the author

Ela Naylor

Marketing Executive

Ela is a lover of the creative arts. Whether she is getting photos in the garden or designing our next email, she brings ideas to life. When she’s not envii’s Marketing Executive, you’ll find her spending time with her family, working out at the gym or planning her next holiday.

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