Bold Shade Garden
Enjoy beautiful color all spring and summer with this easy-to-grow shade garden plan. Ferns and hardy perennials create clean loops around the trunk of a tree.
Instead of sticking to one type of shade garden plant, combine your favorite plants that grow in shade in a bold and dramatic bulls-eye pattern around a tree. Creating a fluffy bed of shade flowers and foliage helps to accentuate large shade trees in the yard, and breaks up the blanket of green grass. This garden plan contains mostly cool tones of blue, green, and purple but uses bright red azaleas around the tree trunk to make the design stand out. Two types of ferns add delicate texture to the display and help to vary the height of the layers of plants.
The shade garden design tapers into the surrounding grass for a soft look. Full shade plants like the two fern varieties belong closer to the center of the shade flower bed. Part shade perennials like phlox and Siberian squill will do better toward the outside, where the dappled sun gets through the tree's canopy.
Free Garden Plan
Our free Planting Guide for this garden includes an illustrated version of the plan, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. (Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to Planting Guides for all garden plans.)
Embellish the shady space below a tree's canopy with hardy perennials. Clean lines from layers of plants give any garden a clean look.
Garden size: 19 x 19 feet
- 1 Heritage River birch (Betula nigra ‘Cully’): Zones 4-9
- 5 Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Mandarin Lights’): Zones 4-8
- 4 Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis): Zones 4-9
- 20 Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’): Zones 5-8
- 36 Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata): Zones 4-8
- 70 Siberian squill (Scilla siberica): Zones 3-8