Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shade Garden

In our TINY backyard, we have an even TINIER spot of grass that sees NO direct sunlight.

It's a weird little corner, nestled between two fences (please note the fence on the left is a temporary fence, we popped it up last year to block Max, although at this point we've got use to the idea that it doesn't match the existing fence, so we might just stain it to match and leave it up for another year).

The corner is only about 2 feet wide, and butts up to our patio concrete. The small grass patch never came in well, it was always patchy! In general it was a very small, but very unused space.
Now, because of the fence there is literally less then 20 minutes a day of direct sunlight, it had to be a shade garden, we have our full sun garden in the front of the house and the raised vegetable beds are full sun at the back of the yard, so we needed to add some shade plants . . . and what does better in the shade then HOSTAS!!!
I LOVE all the different shades they come in, I LOVE the BIG leaves, mostly I loved that they are really low maintenance.
So first things first, we took up the grass! Then we added some compost from our compost bin and a bag of soil from the nursery (being a newly built house, the soil quality is POOR, so when planting we have to amend the soil with sea soil or another naturally enriched soil).
 Next we mapped out where the plants would go. We decided to plant the hostas closer together then recommended because I like really full beds, I like it when plants are falling out of the plot and I have little to NO patience. I spoke to the plant nursery and they said that it was definitely okay to do this (possibly because it meant I'd buy more plants) but I would have to dig up and divide them sooner (sooner being 3-5 years)  then if I planted them the recommended 36 inches apart. Which sounded good to me . . . that will be Future Ashli's problem . . . . let her deal with that!! ;) We actually have another good spot for some shade plants on the other side of our house, so in 3 years we'll transfer some of them over there!
 Dig the holes, and add a sprinkle of Bonemeal! Pop the hostas in their new homes and fill with dirt.
Give'em a good water and top it all off with some bark mulch! DONE!
 Start to finish the whole thing (not including shopping for plants) took 30 minutes!!! Only 30 minutes and we'll have a beautiful shade garden to admire for years! That's a good Sweat vs. Payoff Ratio!!
Here's a future preview of how our little shady corner will look in 1-2 years:
 Image Via.

Also, if you're wondering about cost, the whole she-bang cost us $39. That's 5 Hostas at $6.98 each, One bag of Sea Soil at $4 a bag, and leftover mulch from our front garden beds Free. 

Anyone else planted anything SHADY??? ;)


  1. If you want some annual colour - impatiens love the shade!

  2. so pretty!! i luv a full garden myself, i luv canas, i *think* they are in the same family as hostas. They look the same they just have flowering blooms, the more water they get the better, bigger and more blooms you get.

  3. I have hostas too. They do get big, some varieties. A few years, you may need to split them. I have one in the back of the house behind the garage that is HUGE! Mine are starting to sprout up! :) I need to do some rearranging of some plants around my house.

  4. I will be doing the landscaping for our new house versus paying someone else. I love this idea! Simple yet effective! I hope my planting goes as easy as this! lol

  5. We have a long tree line in our back yard and we were going to plant lots of ground cover there, underneath the trees. We've since decided to go the Hosta route instead. Love them!

  6. Hostas are some of my favorite plants! They're just so pretty and such a simple and easy way to brighten up a shaded plot. Love the way this turned out. It will look gorgeous when they get bigger and fill out.

  7. As the commenter above said, pick up some pink impatiens to add a pop of summer color. They'll fill in the empty spaces and last all season. And definitely stain the fence to match the rest...you know you want to!

  8. I nicknamed my hostas "hostile." The previous owner of my house planted them all over the place. They'll grow anywhere and they reproduce like crazy.

    I love your blog, by the way. I check it everyday! Keep up the good work.

  9. Love it! We have a bunch of hostas in our backyard near the pond and I love them, and personally the bigger and closer together the better. We are actually planning on planting a few more this year once we take the mondo dwarf grass out (too hard to weed around).

  10. Love it (especially the future shot)! We have a whole section in our backyard that is shady, this would be a great idea!

  11. Our current home faces north and I HATE how limited I feel when planting things because of the lack of light. Hostas have been great for us though because of this exact reason, and we've actually had some luck with other plants as well. I do wish we got more sun though!

  12. You will be AMAZED at how fast those grow!!!! I bet you'll have to take two of them out and move them because hostas are wonderful plants, come back every year and look beautiful. Sometimes one plant will get so big, you can divide it too. Hostas ROCK! Nice.

  13. I was just going to make a similar comment as Tracey above. I did the same, being impatient, and planted my hostas, white bleeding heart & sweet woodruff, et al, fairly close but with a bit of room to grow, much like in your photos. Two months later, it completely filled in and the following year was overgrown. I didn't split them & space them until 2 yrs later but they were huuuuuge!
    Not complaining though, I love hostas- just buy a few varieties that you like and in a couple of years you have enough to plant in and around your property and later with neighbours & friends.
    Cana are beautiful too but in our climate they don't overwinter- you have to dig up the bulbs and replant in spring (way too much work for my gardening sensibilities)

  14. I recently posted about shade flowers in the fence post planter that David built me a few months ago. Our patio has a southern exposure but with concrete instead of a railing, so it gets little direct sunlight! Hostas are great plants are should do well in your shady corner!

  15. So pretty what a little planting can do for a yard. Love it!

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  17. Hosta rhyme to remember how fast they grow:

    First year they sleep.
    Second year they creep.
    Third year they leap.

    I always think of that rhyme when planting so I leave enough space. Especially with the big leafed hostas!

    - By the fourth year we have had to divide them already! :-)

  18. Not really a shady garden but we pt our front porch garden bed in tonight. Starting to finally feel like Spring around here now :) http://www.mainemommy.com/2012/04/spring-has-sprung.html

  19. It already looks luscious! I was in the yard pulling weeds last weekend and it was such a big job because we'd neglected it for so long!

  20. I LOVE Hostas. They are soooo easy to grow. I had given up on some bare root ones my first go round only to have them sprout up lush and tropical all over the place. Thinking I might have to reclaim some side yard space myself for more of these on the almost no sun side of our house.



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