Even if your winters bring sub-zero temperatures, the tough plants in this simple design will help you spice up a shady spot in your yard.

By Viveka Neveln
Updated February 05, 2021
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Dreaming of a shade garden filled with colorful perennials, but worried these plants won't survive through your region's frigid winters? Then this cold-climate shade garden plan is for you! The varieties in it are hardy down to Zones 3 or 4 on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, meaning they can withstand temperatures down to -30°F or even -40°F, and still grow back in the spring. Plus, these plants all will look beautiful throughout the growing season. Low-growing perennial geranium and lady's mantle fill in the front of the bed with their dainty green and chartreuse foliage, while the large leaves of hosta add blue tones to the backdrop. In between, the blooms of columbine, bleeding heart, and astilbe add vibrant shades of red and pink to the mix.

cold-climate shade garden plan illustration
Credit: Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Plants for Creating the Cold-Climate Shade Garden Plan

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.

Get the Free Cold-Climate Shade Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, 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 all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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