Small Shady Front Yard Design

Creative design ideas for landscaping front yards in the shade

This design plan was not only created to address a deep shade area but also for a very odd shaped front yard. Other than being in an enclosed area between two homes, the design and shape itself aren't necessarily factored into the principles of landscaping shady areas. That is mostly addressed by plant types. The design itself can be applied to almost any area that an tri-angle shape might work regardless of whether it's a sunny or shady location.

Actually, only half of this yard is in an area that requires shade loving plants. The front half is in full sun which takes into consideration a whole different type of plants that, around here, have to love the sun and love the heat. However, concentrating on the area by the side of the home under the big tree, you may find some of the design aspects helpful if you have an enclosed area like this.

The area being somewhat secluded, can actually be used as an area in the front yard to escape the heat of the mid-day sun without direct street traffic view. So we listened to some of the clients wishes and created a paved area for seating and container planters around the base of the large tree. We placed a stone bench next to that. And once this was made to be a usable area we saw a need for the pathway from the front door entry to the shady garden.

Shady Front Yard Design

This yard is also on a slight hill and so there is a bit of a flooding issue in the yard from water coming from the neighbor's yard as well as from up the hill. So in order to buffer some of the amount of water and chanel it away from the home, we created a french drain type of underground diversion. We simply dug a chanel next to the home and filled it with the same 2" ground cover rock for the rest of the landscaping. We chaneled the angle into the backyard toward the desert.

Plants Used In This Design

Again, in this design, the solution for the shade area lies withing the choice of plants. And while the shade loving plants are meant to thrive in the shade, around here, the plants also have to be adaptive to dry and heat. Even in shady areas, the hot wind can have a serious drying effect.

Shade Plants

  • Columbine
  • Dwarf Nandina
  • Elephant Ear
  • Fern
  • Hosta
  • Lairope

Plants In Sunny Areas

  • Artemesia
  • Blue Salvia
  • Coreopsis
  • Mexican Elder Tree
  • Red Tip Yucca

The front beds by the street existed as well as the ones to the right. The cobblestone path from the front door to the garden is more of a visual to frame the house and connect the entire yard together.

The concrete curb and sump area are necessity due to a drainage problem. This design actually addresses landscaping on a slope where water floods the house and seeps into the house. The whole starting point of the design was to create a sump and drain the water to the backyard. However, it gave opportunity to create a beautiful shady garden in this front yard.

Related Landscaping Resources

Front Yard Landscape Design

All Landscaping Ideas

Small Garden Designs

How To Plans


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