Landscaping Plants for Shady Areas for an Amazing Front Yard

Landscaping Plants for Shady Areas

One of the many things I love most about Spring is it marks the beginning of the gardening season! Currently, I’m starting the process of planning out our landscaping plants for shady areas in our front yard. This past fall,  we had a new driveway and front sidewalk put in. In the process of getting the new driveway, we had to tear out our current landscape. Honestly, this is fine, since it had been the same for the past 15 years.

Landscaping plants for shady areas for your front yard.

Although some of our front yard has intermittent periods of sun, for the most part, it’s fairly well shaded. It faces the North, which is not conducive to a sunny garden. I want to have some color and also for it to be mostly, if not all, perennial. I’m pretty sure this is going to be an evolving process over the years.

So far, these are the plants I am considering, and the way in which I would plan that area.

Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Brunnera Macrophylla ('Alexander's Great') grows to 14" in height. This would be the perfect border plant along the right and left sides of the sidewalk leading up to our front door. I love the contrasting shade of the leaf on this plant. This particular plant is also called Heartleaf Bugloss.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'Moonshine') height 15" in height. The Lungwort would be used behind the Brunnera Macrophylla. I can mix this plant in with the Brunnera to the right of the sidewalk, filling in that whole area.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Astilbe ('Fireberry') will grow to 16" in height and would add some great color behind the border of Lungwort. I love Astilbe. I've had it in the past but in a sunny area. Basically, my astilbe got fried.

The contrast between the variations of green on the other two plants with this pop of color behind those would be very eye-catching.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Astilbe ('Younique Carmine'), which grows to 16" - 20" in height. I am considering this Astilbe as an alternative to the 'Fireberry' since this one does grow a bit taller. It may be seen a little better from behind the Brunnera and Lungwort.
Coleus ('Campfire') will grow to 18 - 24" in height. Adding this behind the Astilbe would add another layer of color, but yet a different type of texture. However, I'm not sure if the height would work behind the Astilbe.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Coleus ('Colorblaze Alligator Tears'), 20 - 30" in height. This is the other Coleus I am considering. I love the leaf colors on this particular variation. The height of this plant may work better than that of the Campfire.
Coleus ('Colorblaze Lime Time'), 12 - 16'' in height. If I did purchase this Coleus, I would intermix it with the height of the Brunnera. I really like the bright green of this plant.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.
Japanese Painted Fern ('Athyrium Ghost') 24 - 30" in height. I have always been a fan of this fern. I love the leaf colors. It's just such a great looking fern.
Peony ('Bartzella') grows to 48" and is a new hybrid. Adding at least two of these to the back would be a beautiful backdrop to the rest of the landscape.
Landscaping plants for shady areas.

Planning a garden can get rather costly, so we will probably build this up over time. This year, I will add some of the perennials and then supplement with annuals. There are several annuals that would do really well in this area.

Here are some of the annuals I am considering:

  • Impatiens
  • Viola
  • Begonia
  • Fuchsia
  • Cosmos
  • Petunia
  • Ornamental Grass

There are many different varieties of both Impatiens and Begonias, so looking at height and placement would be my main priority. I would also look for color variety, so I don’t have too much of one color.

I hope this information helps inspire you for your shade garden.

What is your biggest garden challenge you’re facing this year?


(for posts on Gardening, go here).

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About the Author

I am a work from home mom who dearly loves her 15-year-old daughter, 11-year-old boy/girl twins, and husband. I love my life and feel very blessed by what God has provided for me.


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    The clarity in your post is just great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.

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  2. Michelle Waller says

    I didn’t know there were so many pretty plants that could be planted in shady areas! I am going to have to give some of these a try.

  3. I knew some of these but learned a lot about possible plants I could use in my garden. I have mostly sun in my front yard so most of these won’t work.

  4. Thanks for these plant suggestions. I need to buy some for my shady back yard.

  5. I’m going to have keep this list handy. I would love to add a garden to my front yard but it gets mostly shade.

  6. I just saw Alexander’s Great planted in someone’s garden but I didn’t know what it was. Now I know what the name is so I can find it for my own landscaping. I’m glad I found your post!
    Dawn Lopez recently posted..Sweet Summer Lemonade Bar Cart IdeasMy Profile

  7. These are such great ideas! I love to see all the plans in bloom during spring and had no clue so many could grow in shady areas!
    Allison Cooper recently posted..Mom Knows BestMy Profile

  8. I have a shady area! Thank you so much for the tips! I can’t wait to use them!

  9. I love that beautiful tree in your yard. I wish plants like that grew well here in AZ. I love green plants and pretty colored flowers.
    Aubrey recently posted..Southwestern Buffalo Chicken Bowl RecipeMy Profile

  10. Really enjoyed your post on landscaping plants for shady area, which I know from experience can be tricky if you don’t educate yourself and plan it out first. I’m only familiar with a few of the flowers you mention and have to admit my fave is coleus.

  11. My front yard is lined with hostas which I love because they are pretty and easy. I do have a few flowers but I need to add more for pops of color. Will be looking into a few of your recommendations.

  12. Hello Jodi, I have a little home garden, and I was thinking to make boundary with ‘Fireberry’, is it looks good? Please let me know.


  13. Landscaping and anything green isn’t my thing at all. These are beautiful plants though.

  14. Wow, with all of these plants, i can only imagine how beautiful your garden must look. This is a great article. looking forward for more.

  15. Landscaping is a skill that really is good to have. Some contractors does the service that makes the house look beautiful and more valuable.

  16. Great tips! We have a small shady area that has not been taken care of ever since, perhaps it’s good to have my hands get dirty asap 😉 I love to have some Peonies 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thanks for sharing these ideas of shady plants but unfortunately I don’t have an area in my house where I can plant them.
    Most of the area covered with the sun.

    Thanks again

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