Shade garden plans were never a priority in my garden. However, I’ve seen gorgeous shade garden plants online, and instantly fell for them. I never thought a dark and shaded part in the garden can be colorful and attractive.
Now, I’m always on the hunt for eye-popping yet simple shade garden plans for my garden.
Find out how you can design the shaded corner in your garden with these tips and ideas.
Shade Garden Plans | Smart Design Tips And Ideas For A Shaded Garden
How To Design A Shade Garden
It used to be okay to leave my woodland garden alone. And by woodland garden, I mean the part where only trees and some adventurous weeds grow.
Until I saw these gorgeous shade gardens and shade garden plants. Now, I feel like I’m in a race to transform this shady spot in my garden into a lush and verdant sanctuary.
Give the shaded part of your garden a make-over with these shade garden plans and design ideas.
Defining The Shaded Spot
Taking a survey of a shaded area for landscaping can help you identify the ideal plants to grow.
1. Full Shade
These are specifically areas with a good number of tall trees, with thick and widespread foliage. The ground receives direct sunlight sparsely.
Ferns, heucheras or coral bells, and hostas are some of the shade garden plants to grow in full shade.
2. Partial Shade
This area receives less than three hours of direct sunlight per day. It can be under a tree with a tall canopy, or in a shade of a building.
Impatiens, bleeding hearts, wishbone flowers, clematis, and wax begonia can grow well in these areas.
3. Dappled Shade
These are areas that receive two to six hours of direct sun. They can be under a tree with a sparse foliage or canopy.
Hydrangeas, dianthus, coneflower, and coleus are some great choices for these shady areas.
Choosing Your Plants
Check out these shade garden plants for ideas.
Most shade garden plants can be perennial plants which are great for the busy gardener. You can practically have a perpetual garden with these plants.
Make sure you plan out your garden before growing one, and watch out for invasive plants.
Hosta lilies, periwinkles, wild violets, lily of the valley, and wild ginger are some great choices.
Annual plants grow for a season and constantly give lovely blooms. Most annuals are sun-loving, but impatiens, coleus, and wax begonia prefer the shade.
Grow a new shade garden each year with annual shade garden plants.
3. Herbs And Vegetables
Vegetables may always be associated with the sun, but some still do great in the shade. Herbs such as mint grow well in the shade.
4. Grasses And Ferns
Ferns are a regular in the shade, and a woodland or shade garden aren’t as interesting without them. The long and fine leaf structure of the ornamental grass compliments the equally fine leaf arrangement of ferns.
Sweet flag, Japanese forest grass, and male and lay ferns are excellent choices.
5. Shade-loving Climbing Plants
Imagine the gorgeous contrast you can create when you grow some variegated hosta at the base of a tree with a Virginia creeper on it.
And talking about hosta, find out how to grow or transplant, and divide hosta with the simple guide below.
How To Divide And Transplant Hosta
Hostas are probably the most well-known and common shade garden plant with well over a hundred varieties. Learning how to divide and transplant hosta will allow you to invest in this plant only once.
Growing more hosta will be easy after this simple guide.
Tools For Dividing Hostas
You will need the following simple gardening tools for this activity:
- Digging shovel
- Hedge shears or pruning shears
- Garden knife
- Watering hose
Step 1. Pruning
This may seem brutal, but trimming the leaves of hosta before dividing and transplanting will do the plant well. It’ll grow quicker, and you’ll have yourself a brand new plant upon its growth.
Step 2. Digging Hosta Plant
Using a digging shovel, go around the plant at least 4 inches from the base to dig out the whole plant. Make sure you dig out the whole root system.
Step 3. Shake Soil Off The Roots
Now that the entire root system is out, shake off the entire plant to let the soil loose. Remove as much soil as you can from the plant.
Step 4. Hosing Down Soil From Roots
Using a watering hose, water down the plant’s root to take out more soil to take a good look at the root system.
Step 5. Cut Off A Segment
Now you’ve got a whole root system exposed, it’ll be easy to separate a clump to use for replanting. Use a garden knife to cut through a thick core of the plant’s roots to divide.
Step 6. Planting Hosta Segment
One great tip when transplanting hosta is to form a mound in the hole you dug to plant a hosta in. Spread the roots over the mound, then cover with soil. This way, the roots will not flatten out, and the hosta can grow nicely.
Step 7. Establish Plant And Soil
Gently step around your plant to remove air pockets, and establish the transplant. Water your plant to jumpstart growth.
A good mulching can be beneficial.
Watch the step by step guide to dividing and growing hostas in this video from Rose-Hill Gardens Video Series:
Shade Garden Plans And Design Ideas
1. Simple Shade Garden Design
A simple garden design can be elegant with shade garden plants.
The variegated hosta and heucheras work pretty amazingly by themselves. They’re pretty easy to maintain as well.
2. Shade Garden Border
You may not have first thought so, but there’s actually a great choice of shade garden plants great for creating a border in the shade. There are miniature hosta and heucheras. The wishbone flowers and impatiens make great border plants too.
3. Small Shade Garden
This design can work in small areas shaded by a wall or a fence. Take it from Japanese gardens making rocks and stone work in a landscape.
This makes quite a low-maintenance shade garden too.
4. Large Scale Shade Gardening
Think about all the plants you can grow if you’ve got the space. Yes, it’s exciting but make sure you got it designed both for style and comfort.
Check out more tips as you read on.
Taking notes on the following plant combination tips can help:
1. Plant Texture Variety
Use the different textures in shade garden plants to create interesting contrasts.
The dainty diamond frost euphorbia softens the coarse hosta. While the round and large flower heads of hydrangea sit well with long and pointy ornamental grass.
2. Height Differences In Plant Variety
In choosing plants for your shade garden, height difference in the plants should be considered as well as how they should be placed. Shorter plants must be closer to the viewer, and the taller and larger plants farther.
3. Form Varieties
There’s a wide selection of shade garden plants by form. From the frilly leaf structure of heuchera to the smooth outline of hosta, and the long and pointy Japanese grass.
Different plant forms in a shade garden make it more interesting.
4. Color Varieties
Plants in the shade garden are often plain and dull, while gardens in the full sun are suggestive of bright and bold colors. However, it doesn’t have to be the case when there’s a variety of shade garden plants with bright foliage.
Caladiums, coleus, and heucheras have a wide selection of bright and bold foliage.
5. White With Green
Don’t underestimate the power of white to make any garden shine, even the shade garden. In fact, shade gardens can brighten up with white blooming hydrangeas and impatiens.
The white streak in the variegated varieties of the shade garden plants works well too.
Accessorize In Shade Garden Plans
While there’s a great choice of plants for a shade garden, it’s got limits.
Adding some garden decor such as a simple concrete pot or statuette can add some elegance and interest to your shade garden. Look for a suitable and simple garden decor for your shade garden here.
More Shade Garden Tips
Some shade garden plants can be prolific. If you want to limit plant growth, you can grow them first in containers before in ground planting.
To brighten up a shady area or even help reflect the sun to it, painting a wall or a fence with a bold color would be a great idea.
Watch this video from Homebaseuk for more shade garden plans and ideas:
A shady spot in your garden doesn’t have to be neglected and kept idle. Gardening in the shade can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. With these design tips and ideas, you can actually transform that spot into the most attractive area in your garden.
What’s best with effective shade garden plans is a beautiful garden with low maintenance.
On the lookout for shade garden plans too? I would love to know how the ideas and tips have been helpful to you. Do feel free to post your comments below.
Find out which among these shade garden plants will make it to your shade garden.
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