Forum home Garden design

Planting advice for north facing boarder


We have a narrow north facing border that I would like to plant up. It is the entrance to our home so I want something with impact. The soil depth is good and fresh compost/soil has been added. The border is only 40cm wide and is 7 metres long although towards the end it opens up to be around 60cm wide. I love formal Mediterranean gardens and love verbenas, agapanthus etc. I thought about yew as it can tolerate full shade but the balls would be too small to make impact. Has anyone got some ideas. I have attached photos.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,842
    If it is north facing then it will be too shady for a Mediterranean style. You could plant ferns, hostas, heucheras, Brunneras.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,661
    Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) grows on the North side of our polytunnel and has done for over 15 years. Small delicate flowers (in flower now). Our winter honeysuckle is in a shrubbery and whilst not North facing it is in the shade most of the time. Beautiful fragrant flowers.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,488
    For a bit of height and interest and a slightly exotic look, consider Fatsia japonica and Mahonia x media Winter Sun, both prefering shade.  Also, Phormiums will tolerate shade, the variegated ones are better for making a border look lighter.  For other groundcover, hardy geraniums (cranesbills, not Pelargoniums) will give you flowers in various colours.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    There are columnar yews - and some are golden, so they would be fine. 
    Polemonium, Dicentra and Camassias will all be fine. The last one needs soil that doesn't dry out. Native primulas, Hellebores, Daffs of all types - lots of spring bulbs are fine, Iberis [Perennial candytuft ] Carexes [not pendula- the invasive one] and Philadelphus, will all grow in that aspect.
    If you had enough room, and the soil is consistently damp enough, Acteas are great statement plants. 
    Lots of different clematis will grow there too.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,450
    Check the widths of plants at maturity before you commit to anything. There isn't enough width there for many shrubs to grow without pressing against the fence and overhanging the driveway. Large-leaved statement plants in particular can look horrible if they're pushed up against a fence/wall or constantly cut back to fit the space.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 1,258
    I've just bought a clematis montana Broughton star, to grow up the front of our North-East facing house. There are other clematis that work in that aspect but apparently it's a good vigorous one.
  • BlueBirderBlueBirder Posts: 212
    As said, lots of clematis would be happy along that fence, which would give you some interest in the vertical space if there isn't enough room for tall shrubs. You'd need to attach trellis or training wire along the fence before planting so the clematis would have something to cling to as it grew, and also to train the clematis along the fence. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,633
    Whatever you plant don't just dot them about but plant more than one of the same plant would be my advice.  
     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.

    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
  • Thanks everyone for all your advice. I will have a think and come up with a plan.
Sign In or Register to comment.