Shady Back Yard | Shade Loving Plants

Hydrangea Forever and Ever with blue flowers

Hydrangea Forever and Ever with blue flowers

Hydrangea Forever and Ever with blue flowers Hydrangea Limelight - shade tolerant shrub

My back yard has 5 oak trees. When we planted these trees, we didn't realize how big they would get. The trees are around 30 years old. My problem is that I cannot get grass to grow under the trees. Any suggestion as to how I can possibly grow grass? At this time I cannot afford to make the patio I would like. The whole back yard area is app. 1/2 acre.


I would appreciate any help. Thanks.

ANSWER

Use Shade Loving plants!

I can see your problem. I would not even try to grow grass under these trees if you are not getting any sun. It will just be a struggle. However, here are some ideas.

Create a bed beneath the trees. Try to curve it in and out around these large shade trees so that you produce a nice curvilinear shape. I would do this regardless of how you address the problem...even if you just add mulch. Add a bench to sit there and enjoy your backyard. Find a nice birdbath sculpture or even a small fountain. You can also add bulbs such as Daffodils.

Fill the entire bed with groundcover. You can use evergreen groundcover such as Pachysandra, Ivy or Vinca. This will be simple and give you an overall green look but with texture. The Pachysandra gets white flowers and the Vinca gets purple ones. This will be relatively maintenance free once it fills in. It will get thick and this will prevent weeds from coming up, although you may get a couple here and there.

You can also use either with the evergeen GC or in place of it shade perennials. These will provide more even more interest, such as varying heights, textures, flowers, etc. The downside is that at some point you must cut them back to allow for the next season's growth. this can be done in either the fall or early spring.

Use shade tolerant shrubs...again either mixed in with the above or even alone. I have Hydrangea plants growing in shady areas of my back yard and they flower all summer long. Forever and Ever 'Blue Heaven' are the ones I have and they produce magnificent blue flowers. I also have Limelight which gets a lot taller and has light green-white flowers. They turn pink in the fall.

You need to have at least a little sun for plants to grow (even the shade loving ones), even if it is filtered here and there throughout the day.

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
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