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  1. Life & Culture

Expert Advice: Consider how shadows affect your landscape design

One of the first things to consider when designing a landscape is the directional path of the sun as it relates to the area. The exposure is one factor in determining which plant varieties will work best in specific areas. An often-missed consideration is how shadows can play a part in your design. Just as light and shadow work together to create a beautiful painting, the same holds true in your garden. The shadows cast by tall plants, such as the foxtail palms in this photograph, actually "mirror" the plants themselves, but on the ground plane. In this case, the tall palms act almost like a sundial as the day progresses. And the fact that this shadowing changes in length, and falls on different textures on the ground as the light shifts, creates an ever-changing play on the ground. Shadowing in a garden can be created with plants, trellises, a pergola roof, rafter tails on a pavilion, or umbrellas or other fabric elements, as well as many other sources. Even a fountain, a statue or a sculptural element can be enhanced in a garden setting if you consider where each will cast its shadow. A garden without vertical elements can seem flat and monotonous, especially during the heat of a summer day. Create some mystery and drama by letting the light and shadow work for you.

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