Why You Need to Understand Available Sun for Your Denver Landscape Design and Garden


January 6, 2021

When it comes to landscape design, including planning your gardening, you need to take critical gardening elements into account, such as sunlight and water. Both of these elements are highly dynamic. The sun moves throughout the day as well as from one season to another. Water too can vary, depending on the season and depending on the amount of precipitation in a given year. 

Sunlight is a critical element for your landscape design and garden, and plants vary in their need of hours in the sun. Although the process in determining the amount of sunlight your garden gets seems to be a simple matter of just looking at the space and seeing if there is any sun hitting the ground, it’s not that straightforward. 

Seeing the sun on the spot and determining that it is a sunny spot is one of the biggest mistakes newbie gardeners make. It’s important to also assess the time and duration of sunlight on a specific spot, as well as the intensity of the sun. You should also take into account other factors that influence how much sunlight a spot gives, including filtration of the sunlight from trees and human-influenced factors like buildings, walls, and other plants. There is nothing worse than planting a “shady spot” with plants that only need three hours a day of sunshine to find that the area is brighter than expected, baking the plants to death.

How to Determine Sunlight and Shade in Your Landscape Design
Creating a sun map is an essential part of planning where and what you’ll plant. You can get specifics for creating one here: How to Make a Sun Map and Why You Need One. A sun map that you create twice a year—once in the summer and once in the spring or fall—will give you a much clearer picture of the sun exposure in your yard. It will enable you to choose plants with confidence. 

Keep in mind that you will get various performance levels from plants, depending on where you put them. If you put a sun-loving plant in a spot that has dappled sun because of the leaves of a nearby tree, you may not kill the plant, but you may see a diminished result in the form of fewer flowers, less vibrant color, and less growth.

Another important factor to consider is that the light your yard gets today will likely be different in 10 to 20 years. Sun and shade patterns will change as neighboring plants mature. The addition of retaining walls, sheds, or other structures can also change the amount of sun and shade your yard receives. Keeping all of this in mind while planning your landscape design can be incredibly useful.

Call Landscaped Retreats for Help
Still unsure about planning your backyard planting? Call the professionals at Landscaped Retreats. We can work with you and help you determine the sun and shade patterns of your yard and help you make the best choices for today—and in the years to come. Take a look at our completed projects to get some inspiration, then give us a call!
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