Heck, my terrace is in the shade! How to make it pleasant and grow plants and flowers there? Pierre-Alexandre Risser, landscaper, gives us good tips to achieve this. Interview by Bérangère Larivaud.
What is the first question to ask when you have a terrace in the shade?
We must first determine what creates the shadow. Is the terrace exposed to the north - so it is bright but receives little or no direct light - or is it shaded because there is another terrace above, for example? For the first, we will speak of partial shade and for the second, dense shade.
What plants can we grow on a semi-shade terrace?
A number of plants do not need direct sunlight to thrive. As for flowers, there are all varieties of hydrangeas, camellias, impatiens, fuchsias and some varieties of begonias. In shrubs and plants, there is the orange tree of Mexico, the Japanese maple, the star jasmine, the bamboos and in particular the nandina or sacred bamboo, the fern, the Chinese palm and the heltsine, a pretty green moss ground cover.
And what can you grow on a terrace with dense shade?
With the dense shade, you can create a pretty, exotic place. The aralia or fatsia japonica is a beautiful plant with large, fairly graphic green leaves that grows very well in full shade. There are also several shrubs that bloom in spring, autumn and winter and whose flowers are very fragrant: mahonia, all varieties of osmanthus, sarcococca ... The ophiopogon and the liriopes look like tufts of grass but the latter are larger than the former. There is also the indivisa dracaena, holly, ivy, periwinkles. There are also persistent perennials like pachysandra and bergenia, which bloom in February.
What to do to get rid of mosses that grow in the shade?
If we really can't bear them, there are preventive products. But I would say it is better to encourage them to push because it can be very pretty.
And if nothing really grows, what to do?
Instead of planting the plants in the ground, we try to plant them in pots and we have clear pebbles at the foot of the plants to give back light. We choose light gray stones rather than white because these last risks of greening. If nothing really grows, you can play with the ground by making pretty harmonies using pebbles of different colors or different materials. A good tip is to add a mirror against a wall to reflect the light and give depth to the terrace. You can even put trellis panels or bamboo canes on top. And if the terrace is really very dark, why not install a few spots that you can light when you want to sit outside. You can paint one of the walls in a warm tone - purple, plum, chocolate, mouse gray - and direct a spot towards this wall to bring out the color. Another tip to create a pleasant atmosphere is to install a closed circuit fountain. The sound of water makes the space very pleasant. To know more : www.hjardins.fr