How to Create a Shady Retreat Garden


How to Create a Shady Retreat Garden
  • Posted November 1, 2011

A shady space in your yard, especially one that has respite from late afternoon sun, can be the perfect location for a cooling, calming getaway spot. Combining shade-loving perennials in a subtly contrasting mix of shape, texture and color assures beauty and restfulness for your peaceful retreat.

Keep the final height and width of your chosen plants in mind when placing them in the garden. Place taller ones near the back of border gardens or the center of island-style gardens. Arrange your selections in clusters of 3-5 plants of each variety for the most eye-appeal.

The square footage of your garden area and the individual space requirements of each type of plant you choose will determine how many plants are needed. An average of one plant for every two square feet of space is a good place to start, and then check the individual plant tags for the final determination.

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Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)

Large, loose, feathery plumes of creamy-white over rich green foliage. Lends a light, airy appearance to the garden.This old-time favorite is guaranteed to please. The perfect choice for brightening lifeless shaded areas.

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Western Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

Western Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

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Hosta, Plantain Lily (Hosta hybrid)

Hosta, Plantain Lily (Hosta hybrid)

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Dawn Sherwood
About the Author

Dawn Ochsner is a landscape designer and garden writer.


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How to Create a Shady Retreat Garden
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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time Required: 2 Hours

Shopping List:

Plant & Mulch quantities are for 100 sq. ft. of garden space:

  • 12-20 Plantain Lily (Hosta hybrids) – quantity dependent on final size of chosen varieties
  • 12 Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra eximia)
  • 12 Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)
  • 8 bags Composted Manure (40-pound each)
  • All-Purpose Fertilizer – in your favorite all-purpose formulation
  • 1 Soaker hose
  • 1-2 Hammocks
  • 1 Gazing globe and globe stand