The Q&A Archives: Increasing Sunlight on Patio

Question: I have a patio garden in which I have had two raised flower beds landscaped and filled with topsoil and compost. I have painted some surrounding fences, etc. white to add light to the area, which is about 10'x25', and therefore receives only 2-5 hours of sunlight, especially in the morning (the patio faces West). There is no foliage to prune. Is there anything else I can do to add light to the area? I read in a magazine that I could sprinkle gypsum (which might be good for our Colorado soils anyway) on the surface of the beds to reflect white into the beds, but I'm not sure whether that's a good idea. Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.

Answer: I can't think of any other way to increase the light to the area. However, there are lots of flowering plants that will thrive with 2 to 5 hours of sunlight. Just out of curiosity--is this a new planter or one you've had for a while? I ask that only because what gets only minimal sun now (in March) may get plenty of sun once summer comes and the sun is higher in the sky. (I know from experience! Last spring, I planted what I thought would be a shade garden...but come June, it was in about 6 hoursof sun a day!)<br><br>If you would like some suggestions for plants that do well in partial sun, please submit another question via the web site. (Note whether you are looking for annuals, perennials, or shrubs.) And about the gypsum--I suppose you couldtry, but I think it would have a minimal effect, especially once the plants fill in, and would look kind of funny. You could try spreading a white stone (marble chips) mulch--it would give a little added reflected light. (I prefer an organic mulch like bark chips myself--it adds nutrients to the soil and easier to work with.)

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