Shade Garden Design

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Wondering if I could pick some brains here....

Along our back fence I would like to start an awesome shade garden which would double as a privacy screen as our backyard overlooks a few neighbors and a somewhat busier street. Thus far all I have done is bring up the sod in order to create a general shape of the bed, lined it with some river rocks (need to gather more to finish the border) and planted some bushes.

Right now, if you can see in the picture, I have 4 Chicago Lustre Viburnums and 1 Prague Viburnum in the back left corner. Since in the summer this area gets only maybe 2-4 hours of afternoon sunlight I do not expect them to reach their full 8-12 ft height, but I am hoping that once full grown they will reach a modest 5-6 feet with at least some flowering.

What I would like feedback on is what companion plants could I include here? I am in a zone 6a and would like a layered look.. I was thinking of putting in some ferns, hostas, astilbe, hellebores etc...and just creating a rich and deep border. My bed is currently about 12 ft wide and my bushes will take of the majority of that so should I widen it up? I don't want to overcrowd it and create too much competition. Should I focus on just the bump out around the tree and tailor off the sides a bit? I definitely want some color. Right now my viburnums will have white flowers and dark purple berries (corner berries will be red).

Any ideas or comments would be greatly appreciated!!!



plant full-sun plants that are heat tolerant or shade the area with a deciduous tree that will provide shade during summer and let in light during winter”
Different plants require different degrees of shade ranging from dense shade to dappled or partial shade. You need to study and understand what kind of light you have to achieve the optimum conditions for what you want to grow. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to