This page will feature perennial shade garden plans and designs using easy care perennial shade plants and flowers.
I recommend that you create shade gardens that are cool, calm and relaxing. Create a shady retreat you’ve always wanted.
A shade garden that has a path through it, is very nice I think. It gives you the chance to wander down the path with a cool drink in hand, and taking in the beauty of all the shade plants when in their glory.
And please add something, so you can sit down and relax during hot summer days and maybe even have a cool summer lunch.
Seasonal Shade Planting Tips
Start your perennial shade garden off with spring blooming bulbs and early spring perennials.
Also tuck a few summer annuals, such as impatiens, into the bare spots, when the spring shade perennials fade away in early summer.
Plant the impatiens about 4-6 inches apart for quicker results, and don’t plant them in rows, but space them more in a diamond pattern, and repeat it throughout.
Shade Garden Design Plan 1
Use the shade garden design plan 1 to place the plants pictured below.
You can repeat the plan to create a larger perennial shade garden, or combine it with the shade garden design plan 2 below, repeating them 2-3 times.
Repeating planting groups is important for the very best flower and plant display.
Plant A: Corydalis ‘Blackberry Wine’
Lovely violet blooms that rise above the lace like foilage that won’t go dormant in summer. 12 incges high, to 16 inches wide. Zones 5-9.
Plant B: Hosta fortunei Albopicta
Beautiful golden green variegated foilage with lilac trumpet shaped blooms that appear in late summer. 2.5 feet high and 2 feet wide. Zones 3-9.
Plant C: Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet’
Stunning purple-violet foilage. The tiny, pink blooms rise above the leaves on 30 inch stems. 8-12 inches tall, and 12-18 wide. Zones 4-9.
Plant D: Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’
Gorgeous foilage dotted with silvery spots. Purple and raspberry pink bloom clusters. Grows over time to 12 inches high and 24 inches wide. Zones 3-9.
The shade loving plants in plan 1 above, creates a fancy foilage shade combination that will look great from early spring to late fall.
These shade plants are very easy to care for, and are very low maintenance.
You just need to keep the slugs and snails away, so be sure to use slug and snail baits regularly. I use the baits that are safe for pets and wildlife.
Shade Gardening Tips
Keep in mind that most shade loving perennials flower in spring.
So therefore in summer, the foilage should be the focus of your shade garden, with perennial shade garden plants like these ones.
The large bold hosta leaves form the focal point, while the drift of violet-purple heuchera leaves creates a wonderful contrast in both color and shape.
I like the way the silver-spotted pulmonarias add a bright accent together with the lovely purplish raspberry pink corydalis.
This particluar group will be the most successful if you grow them in rich, moist soil.
In dry conditions, the plants will suffer, or go dormant.
Shade Garden Design Plan 2
Perennial Ground Covers For Shade
Ajuga and spotted dead nettle are shade gardeners dream plants.
Both have beautiful flowers and foilage, and are so easy to grow. They are almost indestructible.
That’s the reason I selected these two perennial shade plants for my perennial shade garden plan 2.
Plant A: Ajuga Reptans
Ajuga plants are also known as Carpet Bugle. Reptans varieties spread quickly by runners, forming a mat of dark green leaves. Blue flowers on 6 inch stems in spring, early summer. Zones 2-9.
Plant B: Lamium maculatum ‘Purple Dragon’ Dead Nettle
It blooms from spring to midsummer and makes a great ground cover for shady spots as it lightens up darker garden areas. Zones 2-11.
I love the silvery, green edged leaves of the lamium maculatum ‘Dead Nettle’.
They brighten up a shady spot even on dark days.
In this very simple and easy ground cover planting for shade, they bring a bright contrast to the rich blue flower spikes of the ajuga reptans.
Both plants are very versatile since they can grow in either moist or dry soil, as well as partial or full shade.
Now that’s what I call versatility!