Landscape Design for Shade Garden Areas

Part of the You Can Learn Landscaping and Gardening series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, YouCanLearnSeries.com
Updated:
March 7, 2008


The shade area of the garden can be difficult to design for. There are many more perennials for the sunny areas. But, here is a landscape design for shade gardens. I have combined some of my favorite shade plants and a visual interest to make your shade garden the best in the neighborhood.

There are some great shade plants that few people use in their garden. I have combined those plants with this landscape design. A couple of the perennials I have chosen are two varieties of Euonymus. I have also selected the Lamium as a great ground cover.

The shade plants have special needs. Because the shady areas of your gardens don't get a lot of sun, most shade plants require less water. These dark garden spots can be interesting with many perennials in this category being variegated. You look for shades of green and eye appealing variegation instead of large showy flowers.

Use These Perennials

A photo of the Emerald Gold Euonymus to be used in the Landscape Design for shade gardens.
The Emerald Gold Euonymus is a perfect shade plant for a shady landscape design.

Emerald Gold Euonymus

Plant two Emerald Gold Euonymus. The Euonymus is variegated and adds a lot of interest in the shadows of the trees. You could plant this in sun or partial sun as well. The leaves will show mostly green in the spring, turns to the green and gold by June and then in the fall will turn a green and rose color. During the summer if the plant needs water the leaves will turn rosy. This condition is not healthy for the Euonymus.
A photo of the Emerald Gaiety Euonymus to be used in the Landscape Design for shade gardens.
The Emerald Gaiety Euonymus is a perfect shade plant for a landscape design for the Shade Garden.

Emerald Gaiety Euonymus

Plant two Emerald Gaiety Euonymus. The Euonymus is variegated and adds a lot of interest in the shadows of the trees. You could plant this in sun or partial sun as well. The leaves will show mostly green in the spring, turns to the green and white variegation by June and then in the fall will turn a green and rose color. Keep watered in extreme dry conditions.
A photo of the Silver Beacon Lamium to be used as ground cover in the Landscape Design for shade gardens.
The Silver Beacon Lamium is a perfect shade plant for a Shade Garden landscape design.

Silver Beacon Lamium

Plant eight Silver Beacon Lamium. The Silver Beacon leaves are a silver heart ringed with green trim. Plant the lamium in moist garden soil. It is a slow creeper and prefers partial shade. The lamium comes in a couple of different varieties, the White Nancy and the Beacon Silver. The lamium maculatum is a creeping perennial and has heart shaped leaves. The flowers bloom in little clusters and come in white for the White Nancy and pink (purple?) for the Silver Beacon.
A photo of a bench with Holly in the background you use in the Landscape Design for shady garden areas.
For visual interest add a bench and place it at a slight angle to the rest of the design.

Bench

Place a bench at a slight angle to the rest of the design to add visual interest to the landscape design. You can find benches at most landscape centers. It can be a concrete bench or a plastic bench. Find one with a design you like. Some benches have some scroll work on them or simple designs.
A photo of the Holly in winter to be used in the Shade Garden Landscape Design.
The Holly is a perfect shade plant for a Shade Garden landscape design.

Holly

When you find Hollies for this design you have to remember to get a boy and girl Holly. If you don't get both a boy and girl holly then you will not get any of the red berries that hollies produce. There are genetic varieties today that are a combined holly that is both a boy and a girl. I have one in my yard and it does get berries each year that the winter mammals and birds eat.
This landscape design for shady areas is spaced out at 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep. Plant the Emerald Gold Euonymus on the left side of the design. Offset the Holly in the back. The back will contain all 3 Hollies evenly spaced. Then the right side of the design will contain 2 Emerald Gaiety Euonymus. Put the bench in the middle of the design at an angle to add visual interest. Then you can plant the Silver Beacon Lamium behind and underneath the bench.

To add a little fun to the design place a couple of flat landscape rocks as a little path to the bench from outside the garden. This landscape design will provide terrific visible interest all year long. This winter we have had a ton of snow and the bench is interesting with a foot of snow on top and the Hollies show off nicely in the background.

Recommended Flowers for Shady Garden Landscape Design

Perennial Quantity Interest Color
Emerald Green Euonymus 2 All Year Green and Gold
Emerald Gaiety Euonymus 2 All Year Green and White
Holly 3 All Year Green
Lamium 8 All Year Purple / Pink
Bench 1 All Year You Choose

This is a plot view showing the Landscape design for the shady areas of your garden.
This is a plot showing the Landscape Design for Shady Gardens


Landscape Design Shade Garden

You can use your own ideas in this design. I have it currently set up with the Emerald Gold Euonymus and the Emerald Gaiety Euonymus on either side of the bench. But, feel free to intermix the two varieties. The Lamium is a creeper and will expand over the years to fill the area you provide for it. I planted my Lamium over 8 years ago and it is still controlled nicely without any work on my part.

This Landscape Design for Shade Gardens will add interest and beauty to that shady area of your yard all year long. The bench is a picture perfect eye appealing view in your garden. The Holly is green all year long and in the snow will be a great backdrop to the bench. So give this design a try and let me know how it works for you.


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