Shade garden - Knowledgebase Question

Chesterfield, Mi
Question by dmbrown
March 2, 2010
My back yard is heavily shaded and will not grow grass in some areas. Some areas are wet. What should I do? Plant a shade garden with plants that like wet conditions. Put in a French drain. What plants do you recommend? Can you help with a layout for the garden?

Answer from NGA
March 2, 2010


It is nearly impossible to get grass to grow in the shade, even with careful soil prep and on-going care so I'd highly suggest using ground covers instead of turf. You can plant perennials that tolerate soggy soils, or you can install a curtain drain if you know where the water is coming from. A curtain drain can help redirect excess water. Or you can mound up soil in a type of raised bed as an island on the wettest areas. Mounding the soil up by 2-3' will keep the roots of your plants high and dry and give you more planting options. Some plants that tolerate soggy soils include Acer rubrum (Swamp Red Maple, Ajuga (Bugleweed - groundcover), Amelanchier (Serviceberry), Astilbe (Astilbe), Cornus stolonifera Redtwig Dogwood shrub),
Forsythia, Hemerocallis (Daylilies), Hosta, Itea, and Miscanthus(Maiden Grass).

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