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Stunning Shade Gardens

Inspiration for creating beautiful shade gardens!

When we first were married, I made it my mission to become a gardener. We’d renovated our first cute little house; added our own touch throughout the indoors; and it was time to add some love to the outdoors. I read book after book after gardening book {this was before the days of Pinterest and blogs – imagine that!}, and I became pretty well versed. Our entire yard was transformed with beds full of cheerful English cottage style perennials and shrubs. The riot of colours; the mixed textures and shapes of the foliage, the birds and butterflies happily skimming the air around their food source. I loved it!

But the area around the huge maple in that first backyard provided a different kind of challenge: shade. At first I wasn’t taken with the simplicity of shade plants… but once this area of our garden become established; I grew to love it’s quiet calm even above my riotous beds of colour. If it’s serenity you want; then nothing can compete with the peaceful feeling created by a beautifully designed shade garden.

Shade Plants

Often those shady areas of our yards go overlooked. We assume we can’t grow anything there and leave it full of moss-infused lawn. But there is so much potential in those shady nooks! I’m super excited about the beautiful landscaping projects we are starting this spring as it allows us to develop a shady and overlooked side of our house; I can’t wait to see the beauty of a garden that it becomes!

So whether you want to create a pretty, landscaped path through a shady area of your yard or develop a whole shade forest, you are going to love these stunning and inspiring shade gardens…

A path with shade plants lining the path.

Enjoy this beautiful shade garden inspiration!

{the links below each image will take you to see the original post}

Cobblestones with plants and pots filled with flowers around it.

A pretty shady pathway seems so inviting but with a hint of mystery…Via BHG

Sprigs of purple flowers and green plants.

Hostas are the absolute star of the shade garden Via Thrifty Decor Chick

A little stone pathway with chairs at the end of the path.

Heading into the woods Via BHG

 A large decorative urn in the middle of the path garden.

I love the decorative urn in the middle of this shade bed Via HGTV

A small shade garden in between two houses.

What a beautiful shady garden tucked beside a house Via Pinterest (if you know the original source, let me know)

Mixing colours and leaf widths of hostas adds interest Via Lonny

Bird feeders and baths along the garden path.

Via Flickr

A small stone path with a wooden gate.

Pretty side garden entrance Via Three Dogs in a Garden

A shade garden leading to a gazebo.

Shady beds leading up to a gazebo Via BHG

Different shades of green in the garden.

This mix of stunning Japanese maple, ferns, and hostas is a perfect shade garden combo Via Conrad Art Glass and Gardens

Japanese maple trees in the shade garden.

Another example of beautiful Japanese maples in a shade garden Via Harmony in the Garden

Hydrangeas line the garden path.

Big full hydrangeas are my dream…Via The Shabby Creek Cottage

A garden around trees in the yard.

A mass planting of hostas below the trees Via Pinterest (if you know the original source, let me know)

Large fluffy ornamental grass.

A mix of purple heuchera and Japanese forest grass is such a bright and pretty contrast in an otherwise mainly green shade garden Via The Garden Glove

Delicate pink flowers in the garden.

These flowering Astilbes are delicate and feathery in contrast the strong wide leaves of the Hosta in this shade garden Via To Build a Garden

Bird baths.

Such a feeling of calm and peace in this all green shade garden Via Three Dogs in a Garden

I also shared our Front Garden tour with a mix of sunny and shady zones…

Beautiful white flowers in the garden.

Front Garden Tour Via The Happy Housie

So many different ways to add interest to that shady spot in your yard! Why not turn it into a lovely little nook with the kinds of plants featured here.

My favourite shrubs or trees for shady areas include Japanese Maple, Rhododendrons, and Hydrangeas (as long as they get lots of water). My favourite perennials for shade gardens include Hostas (watch for deer and slugs), Ferns, Astilbes, and Salal (natural to our area). I also like some of the pretty and more showy shade perennials like Heuchera, Japanese Forest Grass, and Hellebore (a lovely winter blooming perennial great for gardens near the house).

We live in a Zone 7 garden, so you want to do your research and ask at your local nursery for what plants are best suited to a shade garden in your zone. Happy Gardening!

Want to remember this?

Stunning Shade Gardens poster.

Other posts in my Outdoor Series…

Outdoor Fire Pit Areas / Beautiful Coastal & Blue Exteriors

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  1. Thank you for the tips and tricks for my shade garden when I was looking for help!! I particularly love the winding path to a seating area. I have a place for that on the side of a knoll with a flatter top

  2. Thank you for sharing. I love the tips since I’m still trying to put up my front garden, I’ll borrow some of your tips

  3. Beautiful gardens!
    The last “pin” that I saw on Pintrest showed two plants: a hosta in the foreground and a white flowering plant behind it. Can you tell me the name of the flowering plant? I have been searching for something like that.


  4. These shade gardens are really really stunning! It will take a lot of effort to make these gardens and take care of them! But I think it doesn’t matter a lot when you want your house to look more beautifully! So perfect with these shade gardens!

  5. I love shade gardens! The back side of our big garden is all shade. Hostas and a variety of hydrangeas make it fun! I’m going to add some to it this summer but haven’t figured out what yet. I love gardening possibilities!!!

    1. Hi Megan, I love shade gardens too! So lush and pretty. I just picked up some new little plants to add to ours… have a great weekend!

  6. We have exactly the same situation you describe–a big maple tree on the turnaround in the middle of our driveway. Five years in the garden is pretty well-established and I’m starting to pay more attention to what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been trying to add more colour over the past few years. Thanks for sharing some inspiration and tips about what works for you.

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