Growing grass and shrubs in the shade

the back of our garden suffers from a lot of shade and tree cover, and I find it very hard to grow any grass in this area. I have tried seeds and they just won't sprout. Can anyone advise on how I can successfully grow grass in this area.

also, what border plants and shrubs would thrive well in such conditions?



  • Hi Michael, you need to know whether it is (normally!!!!) dry soil or whether there is some moisture underneath which is important in deciding what plants will survive there. I guess that the grass is not surviving because it is too dry there.

    Also you need to be sure whether it is semi shade or shade.

    If it is dry shade see

  • Thank you, I will take a look

  • AtillaAtilla Posts: 1,493

    Right plant for right place. Grass needs light so why bother trying to grow something that plainly does not want to grow there? Half m front garden is in full shade and I have given up trying to grow grass there as it is too dark for it to grow right.

    Try shade loving plants like Mahonia, Aucuba japonica, Jabobs ladder, majority of Ferns, Brunnera etc.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,784

    I've got a large shady area under and around my big ash trees - things that are doing well there are cyclamen hederifolium, Vinca major, dryopteris, pulmonaria, mahonia, anemone x hybrida September Charm, alchemilla mollis and lamium maculatum with lonicera and clematis montana on the fences.

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,255

    Some grasses will grow but not the sort you cut and walk on. Millium effusum 'Aureum', Mr Bowles' golden grass, looks great in shade, shines out.

    Stipa arundinacea, pheasant grass, now called something else but I haven't updated my mental file. That's good anywhere and does well in shade. 

    Oryzopsis miliacea, looks good in shade, I'm sure it shouldn't thrive there but it seems to.

  • If you google plants for shade it will spit out a nursery that just stocks shade loving plants also I think Ive seen a grass seed for shade on a grass seed web site


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