Planting a shady border garden

Planting a shady border garden

Are you one of those who have a small and shady corner in your garden? If you have no idea on what to do with your shady corner of the lawn then this is the perfect project for you. Here are the steps on how you can plant on a shady border garden with flowers and shrubs that grow well in a light shade and that are only low maintenance.

You will need:

  1. Shovel
  2. Compost or decayed manure
  3. Twine and small sticks
  4. 2 smoke trees
  5. 2 hydrangeas
  6. 3 hebe
  7. 1 rosa rugosa
  8. Bulbs (optional)
  9. Water
  10. Complete fertilizer
  11. Rake
  12. Yard stick or measuring tape
  13. Trowel
  14. 4 ligularias
  15. 3 hostas
  16. 4 crocosmias
  17. 6 bugleweed
  18. Mulch
  19. Pruning shears


  1. First of all, start this project off by preparing a location for your shady border garden that is not located under large trees. Dig the ground about 2 feet deep and remove any weeds and roots. Mix with a large amount of compost or decayed manure. Use a rake to smooth the area. Mark the border into 4 by 4 yard sections using twine and small sticks. The result should be 16 sections with each section of 1 yard square. In the fall, plant the shrubs and perennial flowers in warmer climates and in, that\’s about it the spring in cooler climates.
  2. Then, plant the two smoke trees by placing them in the outer back corners on each side of the border.
  3. Proceed to leave these two inner sections (between the shrubs) and the row of sections in front of the trees empty to allow for the trees\’ mature growth. Plant the next row of sections from left to right. Plant the hydrangea in the center of the first section. Plant the ligularias in each corner of the second section. Carry on the project by planting the foxgloves in the third section with one in each corner and one in the center. Continue by planting the other hydrangea just right in the center of the fourth section.
  4. Plant the last row of sections from left to right. Plant 3 hostas in a triangle in the first section. In the second section, plant 3 hebes in a triangle with the point opposite the other triangle of hostas. Proceeding in the third section, start off by planting 4 crocosmias with 1 in each corner. Plant a Rosa rugosa in the last section. Fill in the area in front of the Rosa with bugleweeds.
  5. To remove the air pockets, water and settle in the plants. Spread a thick covering of mulch between the plants to help retain moisture and prevent weeds. You can also plant spring and summer bulbs between the smoke trees to help fill the large gaps until the trees are established.
  6. You can water the shade garden regularly, but do not overwater it. Prune and deadhead the plants to keep the garden neat and healthy. Remove the spent foliage from the bulbs as the leaves die. In the spring, put fertilizer in again in mid-summer.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Shady Retreats: 20 Plans for Colorful, Private Spaces in Your Backyard

Woody Plants for Shady Places