Types of garden shade

It’s vital to understand what kind of shade you have, so you can choose the right plants. Are you dealing with dry shade or damp shade? And what degree of shade have you got? This all depends on what’s casting the shade and which aspect your garden has.


The ‘aspect’ is the direction your garden faces – north, south, east or west. This affects which areas get plenty of sun and which ones are in shadow for all or part of the day.

The easiest way to work out your aspect is to stand by the outside wall at the back of your house with a compass and see which way is south. If south is directly ahead of you, then your garden is south-facing.

For the degrees of shade explained, from deep to dappled (and what grows in it), don’t forget to check out the bottom of this page.

Use our handy guide to the types of garden shade, and pick up tips on which plants will thrive in it.

All but the most heat-loving plants enjoy midday shade, which also stops pale colours burning out.

South-facing gardens

Little shade with lots of sunshine on the back of the house. The far boundary faces north, so will be mostly shaded all day. With your back to the house, your right-hand boundary will be east-facing (morning sun), while your left-hand one will face west (afternoon and evening sun). Our diagram shows the degree of shade cast in the morning, noon and evening (L-R).

South-facing planting tips

Climbers for the north-facing wall include Parthenocissus henryana and ivy. For foliage, add ferns and hostas, and for flowers plant daphne, brunnera and fragrant lily of the valley. In the hottest areas, grow sun-loving plants like Verbena bonariensis, bearded irises and Mediterranean plants.

North-facing gardens

This garden will have areas of shade for much of the day. Though, north-facing surfaces, like back of the house, will get decent evening sun from May-Oct. All but the most heat-loving plants enjoy midday shade, which also stops pale colours burning out. Our diagram shows the degree of shade cast in the morning, noon and evening (L-R).

North-facing planting tips

Try woodland plants, such as hellebores, snowdrops and pulmonaria, which flower early, before the tree canopy shades out the light, and put on growth through summer despite the shade overhead. They’re ideal for areas that only get early morning sun.

West-facing gardens

These gardens are in shade in the morning and get sun during the afternoon and evening, which is ideal for camellias. Plants in a west-facing garden or area must also be able to withstand the heat of the afternoon sun over the summer months. Our diagram shows the degree of shade cast in the morning, noon and evening (L-R).

West-facing planting tips

Plants that will suit these conditions include magnolias and camellias, which like the morning shade, and perennials such as sedums and fuchsias.

East-facing gardens

East-facing gardens get mostly morning sun. Plants that like partial shade and need shelter from strong sunlight will thrive here. Afternoon shade protects plants from the sun at its hottest while evening shade will enhance the impact of white flowers that attract pollinating moths. Our diagram shows the degree of shade cast in the morning, noon and evening (L-R).

East-facing planting tips

White-flowered Nicotiana sylvestris likes evening shade and adds scent to the garden too. Plants that will cope with morning sun and cool conditions include Clematis alpina, honeysuckle and berberis.


  • Deep shade – Found under evergreen trees, on the north side of walls or in the shadow of buildings. Tends to be cold and dry. Grow shade-loving plants like ferns, hostas, ivy, daphne and lily of the valley
  • Dappled shade – Common under deciduous trees – a patchwork of shade in summer, but full sun from autumn to spring. Ideal for woodland plants like anemones and primulas that flower in spring sun before trees come into leaf
  • Partial shade – Most gardens have areas that get sun for only part of the day – between three and six hours in summer – depending on their aspect. Alchemilla and hardy geraniums relish partial shade

Garden Orientation and Buying a Property

The phrase “south-west facing aspects” can be somewhat of a buzz-word when it comes to property searches. But are they really all they are cracked up to be? How does garden orientation really affect the value of a property?


If a south-west facing property is put on the market, the advertisement almost always specifies the garden orientation. Why? People are more attracted to south-west facing properties than any other kind, and some people specify this a non-negotiable feature of their property search.

  • These properties generally benefit from the afternoon and evening sun streaming in
  • The warmth of the sun can help heat a south-facing property throughout the day
  • Maximising on available sunlight is especially popular because Ireland gets up to 225 rainy days per year
  • Those who are selling properties with south-west facing gardens can expect to receive a premium when the property goes to market


South-west facing gardens are great. Who would rather a cold, shaded garden compared to a warm, sunny, south-west facing garden? But what if your south-west facing garden doesn’t get the amount of sun you expect?

  • Ask yourself if your sunlight will be obstructed by a nearby building. Such a hindrance to light could suggest that the premium you will pay may not necessarily be worthwhile
  • The smaller the garden the more beneficial a south-west facing property is. If you have a big, south-west facing garden, the sun will only ever shine on a certain portion of the garden at the one time
  • If you are living in Ireland you aren’t guaranteed very much sun, regardless of which direction your property faces

In saying that, a south-west facing property can be a deal maker or a deal breaker for some people, and it should always be remembered that no matter what changes you make to your property, you cannot move it. If a south-west facing property is a non-negotiable for you then just be on the look out for anything which may interfere with the light shining on your property.


For many people, the ideal property will be located in the perfect area and have a south-west facing garden. But this combination, more often than not, is not on the market.

So what about north-facing and north-west facing gardens?

Thinking outside of the box can be extremely beneficial when it comes to finding the right property. Though a south facing garden will benefit from the afternoon sun, most of us aren’t even in our properties at that time of the day! North and north-west facing gardens can get the evening sunlight, and that is when the majority of us will utilise our gardens.

The below image, for example, maps two properties in the same housing development. Though the south-west facing property (number 17 on the image) is €150,000 more expensive than the north-facing property, the north-facing property (number 1 on the image) actually gets more sunlight. This is because the midday sun will be obstructed by other properties in the south-west facing garden, while the north-facing property has no such obstructions to the evening sunlight.

If your north-facing garden is long, another thing to consider is arranging your garden so that the seating area of your garden will be bathed in the evening sun (so long as the light is not obstructed). Also consider adding skylights to maximise on your property’s access to sunlight.


I recommend using a sun-tracking app when viewing any property. This will allow you to see where the sun will be at different times of the day. You will be able to see whether or not the sunlight will be obstructed. We love Sun Surveyor Lite, available for both iOS and Android users.

If you are interested in any of Eldron’s services, why not request a free consultation and we will get back to you.

The Garden Conservancy Northwest Network (GCNN) is a member-supported association of gardens, parks, and horticultural organizations. It is dedicated to connecting people and gardens, creating engaging educational programming, fostering an appreciation of plants, and preserving gardens as vital cultural resources.

Through this website, you will discover some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful and unique gardens and regional horticultural organizations. Click on the links below to learn more and to connect to each garden’s website. Use the “Map” feature in the right sidebar for directions to the garden you would like to visit or to determine the best travel route between gardens. Explore the “Calendar” page to help you find which horticultural events you might attend and learn when to visit your favorite gardens for a special event, lecture, or class.

Listed below are the GCNN member gardens and horticultural organizations.

Western Washington

Albers Vista Gardens, Bremerton, WA Albers Vista Gardens, an oasis comprised of over a thousand different botanical delights, aesthetically arranged on 4.2 acres of a southwest facing hillside overlooking the Port Washington Narrows and the Olympic Mountains. It serves as a horticulture learning center for educating the public on the creation and maintaining sustainable landscapes.

Far Reaches Botanical Conservancy, Port Townsend, WA

Metro Seattle

Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, WA Bellevue Botanical Garden displays the best plants and gardening practices for beautiful, healthy Northwest Gardens. The garden is free and open year-round, daily from dawn to dusk. Discover the joys of Northwest gardening as you stroll 53-acres of display gardens and native woodlands. Please call 425-452-2750 for more information.

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA Bloedel Reserve is an internationally renowned public garden and forest preserve. The reserve’s 150 acres are a unique blend of natural woodlands and beautifully landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, a Reflection Pool, and the founders’ former estate home.

Cottage Lake Gardens, Woodinville, WA Cottage Lake Gardens is a beautiful 2-acre lakeside botanical garden with an extensive collection of rare and unusual plants including a world-class trillium collection, with more than 2,500 trilliums which includes all 50+ of the world’s trillium species. The garden is open to the public during their spring Trillium Tea Talk & Tours.

Dunn Gardens, Seattle, WA Dunn Gardens is a historic site designed by the Olmsted Brothers and developed between 1915 and 1920. Plants range from diminutive trilliums to Douglas firs towering more than 150 feet. A Great Lawn, sweeping vistas, ponds, and woodland walks all respecting the genius of the place make the Dunn a peaceful garden to visit in any season.

Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, Seattle, WA The mission of the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden is to acquire, steward, and disseminate new and unusual plants; to exhibit plants in sensitively arranged plantings, artfully displayed, and to have the entire property reflect high standards of design and maintenance; to demonstrate, by example, environmentally responsible horticulture.

Good Shepherd Center, Seattle, WA

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, SeaTac, WA The Highline Botanical Garden Foundation was incorporated in 1999 to preserve a 40+ year old private English cottage garden located in the shadow of SeaTac International Airport’s third runway. Since then, the Elda Behm Paradise Garden has been enhanced with four species gardens of iris, fuchsias, roses and daylilies and another heritage garden rescued from the third runway – a miniature mountain and pond Japanese Garden. To date, five of the eleven acres have been developed.

Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, Shoreline, WA The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden displays a unique blend of Pacific Northwest native plants and unusual exotics in a naturalistic, wooded setting. The garden was founded by Dr. Arthur Kruckeberg and his wife Mareen, who built the collection over 50 years in the 4-acre property surrounding their home. The garden and onsite MsK Rare and Native Plant Nursery are open Friday-Sunday, year-round.

PlantAmnesty, Seattle, WA Plant Amnesty is a nonprofit that provides pruning classes, workshops, lectures, and other activities to educate both home gardeners and garden professionals on the best ways to prune trees and shrubs for beauty, appearance, longevity, and safety.

Seattle Chinese Garden, Seattle, WA Knowing Spring Courtyard and Pine and Plum Pavilion are the first structures in this Sichuan style garden. Built by master artisans from China, they feature the essential elements of traditional architecture, stone, water, and plants native to China. Come explore this vision for the harmonious integration of nature and culture.

Streissguth Gardens, Seattle, WA Nestled on a hillside in the center of a major city, with a stunning view of Lake Union, this garden is a moment of green and natural calm in an otherwise hectic urban environment. Accessed via the bordering pedestrian staircase, this woodland gem is laced with meandering paths and year-round flowers.

Metro Tacoma

Lakewold Gardens, Lakewood, WA Lakewold Gardens offers landscape architecture by Thomas Church surrounded by rare and native plants, State Champion trees, and stunning statuary. A Washington State and National Historic Landmark, Lakewold’s Georgian-style mansion and historic architecture complete the 10 acres where visitors can step back in time to an elegant past or enjoy a relaxing moment to contemplate the future.

Lake Wilderness Arboretum, Maple Valley, WA, is a 42-acres oasis of native forest, cultivated gardens and botanical collections situated in the heart of the bustling city of Maple Valley, Washington. The arborteum includes five display gardens, which boast collections of plants and flowers that have been nurtured and maintained by dedicated volunteers for 50 years. From the Smith-Mossman Western Azalea Garden to the Legacy Garden to the Woodland Garden, visitors are welcome to meander appreciatively through beautiful examples of thriving northwest landscapes and visit the Arboretum’s Little Free Library.

PowellsWood Garden, Federal Way, WA Through careful attention to the soil conditions and water movement, PowellsWood, located above Redondo Beach, provides the visitor with a beautiful pleasure garden grounded in an ethic of stewardship of the land. The results of these efforts are seven lush garden rooms rich with color and texture.

Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Federal Way, WA Considered the largest public species rhododendron collection in the world, the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden inspires and educates visitors about the amazing botanical world. Enjoy 22 acres of woodland gardens including the Alpine, Pond, Victorian Fern Stumpery, and Blue Poppy Meadow Gardens, plus the Rutherford Conservatory, Garden Gift Shop, and Nursery.

Soos Creek Botanical Garden & Heritage Center, Auburn, WA Soos Creek Botanical Garden was developed to be a stroll garden inspired by English and Japanese gardens. Highlights of this mature 22 acre garden are two opposing mixed borders extending over 400 feet, kalmias, rhododendrons, roses, peonies, fuchsias, and Pacific Northwest native plants.

Eastern Washington

Ohme Gardens, Wenatchee, WA Ohme Gardens is a refreshing evergreen oasis in the heart of Washington State. Natural stone pathways traverse the 9-acre hillside garden, ushering visitors past breathtaking panoramic river, mountain and valley views, towering cedars and firs, lush foliage, mesmerizing waterfalls, and tranquil pools. It is a photographer’s paradise.

Yakima Area Arboretum, Yakima, WA Established in 1967, the Yakima Area Arboretum is Central Washington’s premiere plant museum. It features more than 1,000 labeled specimens on 46 acres managed as collections, display gardens,and natural areas. The arboretum seeks to inspire people of all age to discover and connect with nature through a diverse collection of Inland Northwest plants.

Western Oregon

Gaiety Hollow, Salem, OR Gaiety Hollow, the home garden of pioneer landscape architects Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, is owned and managed as a public garden by the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, which has also rehabilitated the historic gardens at nearby Deepwood. The mission of the Lord & Schryver Conservancy is to “preserve and interpret the legacy of Lord and Schryver to promote a greater understanding of their contribution to NW landscape architecture.”

The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR, is a stunning, 80-acre botanical garden, featuring more than 20 specialty gardens showcasing the diverse botanical beauty of the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Northwest. There are specialty gardens, including the Sensory Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Children’s Garden. There is a visitors’ center and gift shop, as well as a nursery to buy plants grown in the Oregon Garden.

Metro Portland

Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, Portland, OR The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon sponsors workshops, lectures, study weekends, classes, publications, book sales, plant and garden art sales, trips, and tours. It also organizes member gatherings and encourages member networking and supports worthwhile community gardening projects through grants, sponsor plant and seed sales and exchanges, and encourages the preservation of significant gardens of botanical, horticultural, and/or historical interest.

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, OR Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland’s greatest treasures. Much more than just a beautiful botanical garden, Lan Su is a creative wonder—a powerfully inspiring experience based on 2,000 year-old Chinese traditions that meld art, architecture, design, and nature in perfect harmony.

Leach Botanical Garden, Portland, OR Leach opened to the public in 1983 as a partnership between Leach Garden Friends and Portland Parks and Recreation. The core of this landmark garden is the estate of John and Lilla Leach, botanical explorers who, in the 1930s, built the Manor House and began the garden with its more than 2,000 plant species.

Peninsula Park Rose Garden, Portland, OR Opened in 1913, Peninsula Park Rose Garden is Portland’s first public rose garden, often described as a hidden gem. A formal French garden, it features level pathways, a graceful fountain and a historic bandstand – all perfect complements to the splendor of more than 6,000 roses.

Rogerson Clematis Garden, West Linn, OR The Rogerson Clematis Collection Botanical Garden is a 1.5-acre display garden that showcases North America’s most complete collection of the genus Clematis with over 1600 clematis plants, including 90 of the 300 clematis species. Clematis and companion plants are displayed in a variety of settings around a historic farmhouse at Lake Oswego’s Luscher Farm.

British Columbia

Milner Gardens and Woodland, Qualicum Beach, BC Discover Milner Gardens, a one-of-a kind woodland estate and gardens nestled in the peace that only an old-growth forest can provide; a community oasis that rejuvenates the soul. Take time to relax over a pot of tea and hot scones in the historic house.

Owain Wyn Evans is BBC North West Tonight’s new weather presenter

Image caption Owain Wyn Evans says it is a “real honour” to join the BBC North West Tonight team

Owain Wyn Evans has been unveiled as BBC North West Tonight’s permanent weather presenter.

The 35-year-old will join presenters Roger Johnson and Annabel Tiffin every weekday evening from 18:30 BST.

It follows guest stints presenting the weather since the death of “adored” previous NWT weather presenter Dianne Oxberry.

Evans – who presented the weather for BBC Look North for four years – said it was a “real honour” to join the team.

Image caption Owain Wyn Evans will join Annabel Tiffin and Roger Johnson every weekday on BBC One from 18:30

Born in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales, his career began on a Welsh-language children’s news programme before he began working as a reporter and presenter for BBC Wales.

He moved into weather after studying meteorology with the Open University.

In 2017, his forecast in celebration of International Drag Day went viral as he paid tribute to drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“It’s going to be a real honour to present the weather every evening on BBC North West Tonight.

“Annabel and Roger are absolute darlings – I’m very excited to be part of such a well-loved programme.”

Presenter Roger Johnson said: “Dianne was adored by the North West Tonight viewers and we all still miss her.

“In the months since she died, several excellent weather presenters, including Owain, have helped us.

“We’ve had a positive reaction from many viewers and we are sure they will make him welcome.”

The appointment was also welcomed by a former BBC North West Tonight presenter Ranvir Singh who tweeted: “Our forever sunshine @DianneOxberry would definitely approve”.

Oxberry died from ovarian cancer aged 51 in January.

The much-loved former Radio 1 host presented the weather on BBC North West Tonight for 23 years.

BBC North West Tonight airs on BBC One, Monday to Friday at 18:30.

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