shade garden

Depending on the layout of your yard, it’s likely you’ll have at least a few areas that experience more shade than sun.  But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to forego planting in those spaces altogether.  There are a wide variety of perennials that can do very well in the shade.   And the happy bonus is that they look great as well.  To help you fill out your property we provide five tips for designing a partial shade garden.


Hosta is one of the most popular shade growing plants.  And this has led to an explosion in varieties, shades and variegations.  A bluish shade allows these plants to stand out when surrounded by the overwhelming greenery typically found in shaded spots.  Hostas with variegated leaves also allow the plant to stand out in low light areas.

Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s Seal is another well known shade tolerant plant that’s used to great effect by many a gardener.  It also has a unique arching shape that can be used to effectively break up the rosette pattern exhibited by most shade tolerant plants.  The small white flowers that are produced among the swathes of stems will eventually morph into seed pods which will change colour as the season progresses.


Ferns not only do well in shady areas, they give the garden the feeling of a rainforest or lush woodland.  Hardy varieties such as the maidenhair are popular performers that are known for their dependability.  Japanese Painted ferns have great colouring – very often with silvery leaves and deep red stems.  Having some type of fern in your shady spots is a “should” for any gardener.


Cimicifuga are great for adding some height into an area that you may otherwise cause some difficulty for growing taller plants.  They eventually produce tall, white, spiky flowers which draw the eye upwards.  They don’t require a lot of maintenance and work well as a backdrop for layers of smaller plants in the foreground.


Astilbe, or false goat’s beard, is a medium height plant that looks interesting throughout the entire season.  It blooms once a year, but the flowers look great even after their colour has faded.    They don’t require a lot of tending and help fill out a garden with the lushness of landscaping.