Help in planning a tricky garden spot

I have a 12'x15'deck with 5'clearance,which I have been trying to plant perennials in. The area is very dry & has extra airflow from an air-conditioner unit. The major problem is my selection of plants because the area is in full shade from north, east and south, but as the Nebraska summer sun sets in the west it turns to full hot sun. I have tried hostas, but they burnt & withered. We are zone 5. I'd like some plants with a color throughout the seasons or a range of different colored of leaves.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Hi,

Thanks for writing. It sounds like some ornamental grasses, including miscanthus (http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/perennial/miscanthus/) might be good choices for you, as well as versatile plants such as aster, bellflower, and amsonia.

As the area is dry, I'd recommend adding lots of extra organic matter, such as compost, to the soil. That will help your plants more than anything because it will help the soil hold moisture better when it's dry, but also drain better after rains.

For more suggestions, check out our Plant Encyclopedia: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary

Thanks for writing. I hope this helps!

---Justin
Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com
Better Homes and Gardens


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