Designing a Colonial Style Shade Garden

Welcome back landscapers! We’ve got a great landscape to showcase today and we think it’s something really special. The story of this project is very simple. The homeowners of this property were looking to create a shade garden, as their landscape was predominantly covered in shade. Our Director of Landscape, Daniel Van Dyke, selected the perfect blend of the homeowner’s preferences, shade-compatible plant varieties, and maintenance expectations. Let’s take a look to see how he accomplished this amazing project.

The homeowner's passion for hands-on gardening and a desire for an aesthetically pleasing cut garden paved the way for an accessible and hands-on design. Sunlit portions of the garden offered ideal conditions for blueberries, raspberries, peonies, and tea roses to flourish. This strategic placement catered to both visual appeal and practical use, as these specific plants thrive under direct sunlight. And to put a final spin on the cut garden’s design, shells were used to create pathways throughout. This was our personal favorite choice because it reminds us of the beach!

In contrast, the shaded areas of the garden required a different selection of plants. Daniel's expertise came into play as he picked a specific selection of shade-tolerant greenery. Hydrangeas of varied sizes and colors were strategically placed alongside some gardenias and camellias. Further enhancing the design, perennials like acanthus, Solomon’s seal, and chocolate chip ajuga introduced dynamic color and texture to the shaded canvas. The intention behind these selections was to offer a visually engaging garden that maintained its look throughout the year but still be able to keep it low-maintenance for the homeowners.

What made everything come together was Daniel’s time with the homeowners on this project. A great thing about working with our landscape team is that you get to work with a designer that matches both to your functional and aesthetic needs. This landscape took almost a year to complete and their feedback was instrumental to helping Daniel shape the shade-garden into something that will truly thrive for years to come.


If you want to see more of the final product, check out this amazing tour with Daniel himself!