Landscape Design For A Shady Yard

Plants love sun, and many of them need huge amounts of it to flower. If you are the proud owner of a shady yard, however, that doesn't mean you have to skip the plants or go without flowers in your yard. Read on for ways to create a landscape design that works for your shady yard. With these ideas, you'll be able to create a gorgeous, cool oasis where you can wait out the hottest summer days. 

Determine Your Shade Amount

Spend some time observing your yard during the growing season. Don't make the mistake of watching the sun cross your yard during the winter when overhead trees don't have leaves. When those trees leaf out, you'll be left disappointed with the lack of sunlight. Determine how much sun your yard gets every day and in what area. Maybe your yard gets a few hours of sunlight a day. Perhaps your yard only gets dappled light. It might get no light at all. When you start choosing which plants to put in your shady yard, this information will help you make your selections. 

Focus on Foliage

Flowering plants, in many cases, need sun to thrive. So if you can't have a flowerbed full of cheerful colors, add interest by focusing on something else: foliage. If your yard and flower beds mostly will be adorned with leaves, choose them carefully. Pick plants that have leaves with interesting textures. Lamb's ear and silver mound are soft to the touch and provide an almost silvery color in the shade. Choose plants that have leaves with interesting colors. White really pops in the shade, so consider variegated varieties of ivy or hosta to add some visual interest to your shady garden. Dusty miller is another beautiful option that has nothing but white foliage. 


Most flowers like sun, but not all of them do, and many of them do quite well with just a couple of hours of sun a day. Astilbe is a tall perennial that grows tall, showy blooms that dry to add visual interest in a winter garden. Lily of the Valley is a spreading perennial that loves shade and fills the air with an intoxicating aroma when it blooms in the spring. Tuck a few shade-loving annuals in among your perennials when you need a hint of color. Pansies do beautifully in the spring, and snapdragons bloom all summer. You also can take advantage of leafless trees if they're the cause of your shade woes. Plant spring bulbs that will pop up and add some color to your garden before trees get leaves and start shading your yard.