Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Choosing Permanent Shade For Your Garden

When you are planning your garden, you may want to offer shade to your guests. To do so will mean that you need to consider the shape, size, and permanency of any structure you may put up.

One common option is an open-area arbor. These choices are great because they offer round or square seating options and typically are a perfect size for sitting someone at your table. On the downside, they do not offer any protection from the wind or other elements because of their open nature. If you are planning to use an arbor to create some shade in your garden, consider adding some hardy shrubs around it to protect from the wind. Also plant some climbing vines on it to add to the shady impact.

A more expensive route, but one that definitely solves the problem of the arbor, is to build a summerhouse. While you will call it a summerhouse, it need not have all of the features of a house. This type of structure should be glassed in so that you can sit in it and see out into your garden. The benefit, of course, is that you will have someplace away from your home to go. If you are a writer or artist, for example, a summerhouse can be a great way to get work done at the same time you are seeing the great outdoors. The disadvantage, beyond the expense, is that you will miss out on some of the garden smells and sounds in the glassed-in area. One solution for this problem is to use a mesh screen instead of glass. It will keep out bugs but let in breezes and nice aromas.

Pergolas are a specific type of arbor, but they are another option for creating shade in your garden. A pergola will allow you to put down poles supported by a covering. The covering may be light and airy, such as mesh, or may be sturdier. Then you will need to put out plants and vines. They will grow along the pergola and create a walkway of shade. The best part about using a pergola to create garden shade is that you will find that you can create pergolas out of any type of material. They also come so that you can build them to fit any area you need. You will buy the poles and other materials, but you have a good bit of leniency in terms of how you design them. Unfortunately, they need concrete for the poles to work well, so you will need to add concrete if you are planning a pergola.

Another option is to plant trees to create shade. This choice is one that is more environmentally sound (no concrete) and will be a part of your garden as well as your shade. It is a little trickier, however. You will need to be sure that you get the right kinds of trees. For example, some deciduous trees cast what are called deep shadows, meaning their shadow (and thus shade) can cover the entire garden. That means that you will find that you have to cut up the crown of the tree by cutting off limbs lower to the ground. That will help with the shading the whole garden issue.

Trees also do not provide full shade. They only provide it where the limbs and leaves are casting a shadow. It may be difficult to plan for a garden bench or work area using trees as your shade. Still if you purchase smaller trees, then you should have a little more control over them. You should find that you can work with the trees to create the shade you want.

Be sure to take the time you will need to create shade into account as well as the financial and other factors. Many gardeners want shade and find that though they may love the heat, it is nice to create an area where they will not need to keep themselves cool all the time. A shaded area can be a perfect addition to any garden. With a little time and perseverance, you can imagine the kind of shading you want for your garden and make it happen.

By Julia Mercer

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