Small shady area - design help please

Lockett15Lockett15 Posts: 3
edited 31 March in Garden design
Total gardening newby so suggestions greatfully recieved! we live in a new build house and the small area at the front was planted with some small shrubs & bark when we moved in...2 years later it still looks the same, the bushes are awful and I'd like to plant something a little bigger and higher to separate from the path better. It's east facing with sun early morning and shade most of the afternoon. Any suggestions for planting an area like this would be greatly appreciated!

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  • Lockett15Lockett15 Posts: 3

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,239
    What sort of soil have you got there? Helps in deciding what’s best there. The canopy will cause lack of rain getting into the area near your front door.

    A low maintenance year round structure shrub like Euonymus fortunei that comes in a variegated types can add a permanent look. Sarcococca Hookeriana also has fragrant winter flowers which will be a bonus. Again a few varieties to choose from.

    Many Geraniums do well in part shade too, they provide good ground cover for many months. 
  • Lockett15Lockett15 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advice! In the back garden we found under the builders rubble (!) that the soil is quite clay so guessing the front is the same. I think Eunonymous is what is there already, they just haven't grown well. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,239
    I do apologise, I have zoomed in properly and can see that now! The plants need regular pruning to encourage bushiness. They can take a few years to get going. I recommend pruning back twice a year if you want to salvage what you have there. 

    Alchemilla Mollis and Bergenia can cope in those conditions. To encourage more richness to your soil, top up and dig in compost or well rotted manure. 
  • I second Sarcococca - I have 2,  both east facing and they are tough bushes, with gorgeously scented flowers over winter, plus back berries after.
    What about a dwarf acer in there? Just to add some height. Would look great underplanted with some ferns and a lovely Japanese grass called Kakkonechloa. The ferns and grass would be good for softening the border of the step too. All very low maintenance (except for the acer, which will needs some care - the green varieties are best for shadier sites, as the red leaved need quite a bit of sun to bring out the colour).
    Agree with hardy geraniums too - loads of types available that will thrive on most soils and will give colour for many weeks too.
    How about some cyclamen (coup and hederifolium) too? Lovely little ground covers that will fill in gaps and you'll get flowers in spring and then in autumn.
    There's a great site called Plants for Shade, that can give you ideas for plants in different types of shade (dry, wet, deep etc).

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