How to Use Shade Plants and Hardscaping to Beautify Your Yard

Do you have a shady spot on your property where the grass won’t grow? Is the ground bare? Don’t let shade scare you. With the right planning, you can use shade plants and hardscaping elements to beautify any shady area.

Choose Shade Plants that Will Thrive


Unless you really, really just want turf grass, turn your shady spot into a beautiful shade garden. You begin that process by choosing plants that provide different colors, heights, and textures. For best results, consider using native plants that grow in shade where possible. The Maryland Native Plant Society has an excellent booklet to help you choose native plants.

You may also want to think about incorporating some mosquito repellent plants, as mosquitoes do love the shade. Shade-loving plants will be clearly marked as such at your local garden store or plant nursery.

The list of plants that grow in shade in Maryland below includes native plants, perennials, annuals, ferns, and shrubs. You will need to take into account your soil type, moisture, and deer when making your selections. Check out our recent blog on deer resistant plants if that is a concern.

Maryland Native Plants that Grow In Shade or Partial Shade

Annuals and Perennials

  • Black Cohosh
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Wild Ginger
  • Squirrel Corn
  • Dutchman’s Breeches
  • Spring Beauty
  • Wild Bleeding Heart
  • White Wood Aster

  • Round-lobed hepatica
  • American Alumroot
  • Hairy Alumroot
  • Twinleaf
  • Virginia Bluebells
  • Wild Blue Phlox
  • Wild Stonecrop
  • Zigzag Goldenrod
  • Heart-leaved Aster

Image credits: (Virginia Bluebells), / Carol Gracie (Spring Beauty), (Wild Blue Phlox)


  • Northern Maidenhair Fern
  • Marginal Woodfern
  • Christmas Fern
  • New York Fern


  • Sweet Pepperbush
  • American Witch Hazel
  • Wild Hydrangea
  • Northern Spicebush
  • Southern Bayberry
  • Great Rosebay

Non-Native Shade Plants

There are also, of course, a huge variety of non-native plants that do well in shade. Just be sure to avoid invasive plants. Some popular choices include:

  • Astilbe
  • Bigroot Geranium
  • Bleeding heart
  • Coleus
  • Coral Bells
  • Deadnettle
  • Foamflower
  • Hellebore
  • Hosta
  • Impatiens
  • Lungwort
  • Primrose

Choose plants that appeal to you aesthetically. Some are flowering, while others are evergreen.

Add Hardscaping Elements

As part of your overall effort to beautify that shady part of your yard, you’ll want to incorporate some hardscaping elements. This can include retaining walls, patios, benches, walkways, steps, water features, and much more.

By creating pathways to a shady corner, you invite people to linger in that area. Provide seating of some sort for you or your guests to relax and get out of the hot sun. You’ll be happy you did!

Consider Hiring a Landscape Design Team

If you have a large property, or you’re just not ready to do some hard labor yourself, consider hiring a Maryland landscape design team like LiveWell Outdoors. Professionals have the knowledge and expertise to turn that bare shady spot into a favorite location.

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