All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Article: Shady garden ideas for sun-starved spaces

Penned by the extremely talented Rosanna Spence for Saga Exceptional, the sub title reads, Dazzling designs that prove your garden doesn’t need full sun to shine. It is a collection of UK based landscape architects including The Society of Garden Designers SGD (UK) of which I am a full member and boasts 17 designs that work in places of shade, 2 of which are Peter Donegan garden designs.

This garden was originally designed for RTE Television where I was series garden designer for what became Ireland’s most watched TV Show, DIY SOS The Big Build.

Garden No. 5: Build an al-fresco room.
Covered areas can become cosy.

Quote: If you have an outside space that’s in full shade, with lots of hardscaping, embrace its textures and transform it into a cosy additional outside room. This shade garden idea from Peter Donegan takes accents from minimalist Japanese design to create acovered dining area complete with outdoor cinema.  

With the right heating and lighting, this garden can be used year-round, whatever the weather, and will likely see much more action than if it were merely dressed with a few potted plants.  

The use of red and white lighting creates an ambience perfect for hosting and relaxing, injecting some vibrancy into the dark space.

Garden no. 4: Use water to reflect light and colour
Water creates a sense of calm.

This 200 square metre Peter Donegan designed show garden won gold medal at Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2023 and is almost completely in shade.

Quote: Water can have many uses in your outside space. Not only does it help to attract wildlife, it can make a small garden look bigger. Water can also brighten up a very dark space, as demonstrated by this shady garden idea from Peter Donegan.  

Using minimal, sleek, clean lines and modern design, the water replaces what could easily be a lawned area, or paved courtyard garden.  

The water’s surface captures glimpses of sky and shades of green, doubling the textures your eye takes in as you wander across the dedicated stepping stones. Any sunlight that does break through the canopy will be emphasised in the reflection, adding some sparkle to what could otherwise have been a dimly lit space. 

Peter Donegan Garden Design Melbourne Flower Show 2023. image Mackie Steele