Ground Covers for Shade Garden Ideas

Vivid shades of green don't only belong on a grassy lawn. With these ground cover ideas for shade gardens, even the dark spots in your garden can be lush and beautiful. Use ground covers in conjunction with other shade garden ideas to create a full, healthy garden. The following photos will show you several ideas for shade garden ground covers.

A shady border is a great location idea for ground cover plants. These naturalized plants, whose white and lilac-colored blooms seem to dance above the abundant foliage, form a ground cover that completely carpets a shady border. Columbine, tiarella, and Anemone nemorosa bear flowers of snowy hue, while Phlox x stolonifera Pink Ridge adds a touch of color. Attractive, dark-veined, purple leaves behind the phlox belong to Heuchera x montrose Ruby.

In this unique shade garden idea, ground cover plants and decorative boulders line a garden path. Ferns, wildflowers, boulders, and zebra grass are used. The variations in size, color, height, and shape add interest to a spot that could have easily been dull.

A shaded rock garden is a great idea for the adventurous gardener. In this peaceful setting, the lesser-known relative of a more familiar garden plant contributes to a gently eye-pleasing picture. Gaultheria shallon, a cousin of the well-loved creeping wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, is set among Polystichum munitum, sword ferns, and bergenias. A scattering of pine needles emphasizes the woodland setting.

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A simple path becomes a spectacular sight when it is lined by the colorful blossoms of ground cover plants. The plants outline the curvy shape of the path, and delight with their vivid color. Using ground cover plants in this way is a good idea for paths through your garden or walkways leading to your doors. Gardeners can even use ground cover plants to line a driveway with color.

The pleasingly pleated leaves and flowers of pure white Trillium grandiflorum rise out from the ground cover of pachysandra to bloom in early May. Trillium also goes by the common name of wake-robin. Many trilliums are still collected from the wild and then sold, so only purchase them if you can verify that they have been propagated by a nursery.

Lisa Gesner

Phlox explodes with color in this ground cover idea. Phlox is an easy-to-grow multicolor perennial flower that grows in clumps with strong stems that bear simple lance-shaped leaves. In this ground cover idea, a solid color makes a strong statement when surrounded by earth tones.

Bog gardens combine water, shade, and water-loving plants to create stunning results. Learn more about bog cover for shade garden ideas, and enjoy wonderful photographs, in the next section.

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