North-facing landscapes tend to be shady, which is ideal if you don't want the hot afternoon sun beating down on you when you're trying to relax. However, the shade can narrow down your choices of flowers, shrubs, and trees since most of them prefer sun exposure.
It's not entirely impossible, though, to create a relaxing landscape where you can kick back and plant greenery that will make your landscape vibrant, welcoming, and refreshing.
Determining the plants that you can plant in a north-facing garden can be challenging. Fortunately, there are a lot of plants--flowering, fruiting, and evergreens--that can thrive in shady areas. These are the plants you need to explore, and ones you can plan your landscape with.
Since north-facing gardens are shady, you can design a landscape in a way that allows people to lounge around. It's ideal to create recreational areas such as pools or sports areas or have seating and outdoor chairs that encourage comfort.
You have the opportunity to stay outside in the afternoon without getting sunburnt, so it's best to take advantage of this.
However, if you're someone who likes to chase the sun, you can design the garden in a way where you can enjoy some sunbathing when you can get them. As always, it all depends on your preference.
We have gathered 15 ideas that can give you ideas on how to design your north-facing landscape. As always, make sure to opt for one that fits your lifestyle.
1. Create A Lounge
Lounge areas are ideal for north-facing gardens. This is ideal especially if you live in a sunny place where afternoons tend to become harsh with the afternoon sun and would like to get some air in the garden without the sun beating down on you.
However, if you want to follow the sun, place the seating area where the sun will reach it, usually along the end of the landscape.
For a more tranquil and relaxing experience, install outdoor curtains so you can guard yourself against the sun if it gets too hot.
2. Overflow With Shade-loving Plants
This one's a no-brainer. If your landscape isn't getting enough sun, it would be counterproductive to plant sun-loving plants since they would just become leggy or not thrive at all, which will not look good in your landscape.
There are many gorgeous shade-loving plants you can incorporate into your garden. You can plant ferns around, which can make the area feel restful yet inviting. You can arrange them in a way that makes them seem to be spilling out of their containers to make the space look whimsical.
Other shade-loving plants you can plant in your north-facing landscape include snowdrops, winter aconites, bleeding heart, lungwort, and ivy.
Read: "13 Colorful Shrubs That Grow In Shade."
3. Create A Rocky Landscape
Rocky landscapes are generally low-maintenance, and they will look lovely on your north-facing landscape especially if you are intentional with all the plants and rocks you choose.
However, instead of sticking to desert plants that might require a lot of sunlight, you can switch them with ferns and other shade-loving plants. The visual appeal is retained, and the addition of shade-loving plants will give the rocky landscape a unique flair.
Rock gardens are also a better alternative for grass lawns when designing north-facing landscapes. Grass lawns require a lot of sun, so it's best to stick with something more low-maintenance and one that won't dry up or look aged without sunlight.
4. Shaded Blooms
Vibrant blooms can still be incorporated in north-facing gardens. There are a lot of attractive flowers that thrive in shade, and they won't inadvertently "reach" for the sun and make them leggy after some time.
Create a flowerbed in your landscape and make sure you plant flowering shrubs that won't require a lot of sunlight in order to bloom.
Flowers that you can consider include hostas, begonia, ligularia, bellflowers, forget-me-nots, and primroses. They all feature pristine and rich colors that can inject vibrancy into your landscape.
5. Install Natural-looking Backdrops
Natural elements such as brick, stone, and wood are always a foolproof way to make your landscape look cohesive. These elements can tie up the entire landscape together, and they effectively highlight the beauty of your landscape without being visually distracting.
They can also make your landscape effortlessly chic and put-together, and they can add structure and depth as well.
Make sure that you maintain these materials well so that they won't rot or get plagued by weeds that can grow between the cracks.
6. Build A Water Feature Or Garden Pond
Installing a water feature or garden pond will be beneficial for your north-facing landscape. You can enjoy the sights and sounds of water without the harsh afternoon sun beating down on you.
You can surround water features with shade-loving greens for the most natural-looking landscape.
7. Build A Recreational Area
Having a recreational area in your landscape will make your space look more inviting. It also takes advantage of the fact that it can be more comfortable for people to play outside when there’s no risk of getting sunburnt.
However, if you want a bit of sunlight, design the recreational area around the edge of your landscape where it can potentially catch some sun.
8. Incorporate Vibrant Colors
There’s no denying that colors pop better when the sunlight hits them. So, you can amend this by incorporating deep and vibrant colors in your north-facing landscape to make up for the lack of sunlight.
The colors can either be on the flowers, the backdrops, the plants, and even rocks if you’re creating a rock garden.
9. Build An Outdoor Fireplace
It's always good to have another source of light and heat in a shaded space. Outdoor fireplaces can make your landscape feel cozier and more welcoming, and they give off a rustic appeal that's effortlessly elegant.
10. Feature A Statement Piece
Statement pieces such as decorative vases, pots, or even statues and fountain decorations can make your landscape unique. They add character to your garden, and they give off an almost vintage and classic flair that can make your garden feel tranquil and peaceful.
11. Install Warm Lighting
Sunlight gives a "golden" light to the landscape. But if you have a north-facing landscape, you might have to improvise to get that warm glow. Incorporating warm lighting on your landscape or simply having lights near the patio can give your landscape an elegant and cozy glow.
12. Plant Around The Edges
One way to give the illusion of a wider space is to cover edges and borders that separate you from other properties or outdoor spaces. It can make your landscape feel cozier, and the soft-looking bushes and flower beds will make the space feel almost relaxing.
Read: "What Ground Cover For Shade Under Rhododendrons?"
13. Fill With Gravel And Pavers
If you want to avoid grasses that require a lot of sunlight, covering the ground with gravel and pavers is a safe route to take. There are a lot of visually appealing options that can make your landscape more structured and elegant.
Just make sure you maintain them well since they will be virtually the largest feature of your landscape.
14. Build A Wooden Outdoor Patio
Wooden patios incorporate warmth into any space they are placed in. Shaded landscapes will feel more inviting with wooden elements, and they will look vibrant paired with warm lighting.
The wooden elements will also blend well with other shade-loving plants. Just make sure not to place the wooden furniture too near to the plants since the wood can gather a lot of moisture.
15. Build An Arch
Landscapes that rarely get sunlight need all the aesthetic appeal they can get. Building an arched entryway can make your landscape feel almost magical, unique, and welcoming especially if you pair them with vibrant shade-loving flowers.
North-facing landscapes can have a lot of benefits. They can inspire you to get creative about how you design the landscape, and you can incorporate elements that would be advantageous in a shady landscape. As always, go with your preference and lifestyle when building your north-facing landscape.