Finding beautiful landscape ideas for shaded backyard can be challenging. If you’re looking to make the most of your shaded backyard but aren’t sure what to do, you’re in luck.

This blog post will provide you with inspiring landscape ideas for your shaded backyard, so you can create the perfect outdoor oasis.

Landscape ideas for shaded backyard.  Types of plants that thrive in the shade.

From lush gardens to cozy seating areas, these landscape ideas will help you transform your backyard into an inviting and tranquil space. Read on to learn more!

Landscape Ideas for Shaded Backyard

It’s fun to get creative with your outdoor spaces, but if you need a little help getting your creative juices flowing, check out these backyard ideas!

1. Designing a Shade Garden

If you have a shaded backyard, don’t worry – it can actually be an advantage when it comes to creating a beautiful landscape.

Shade gardens can be peaceful, cool, and even a little magical. It gives you a quiet oasis for you to relax and enjoy.

Here are some tips for designing a shade garden that will be the envy of all your neighbors:

1. Start by assessing your site

What kind of shade do you have – partial, full deep shade, or just shady spots? Are the shady areas caused by large trees, buildings, or other structures? Knowing these details will help you choose the right plants for your space.

2. Think about your garden’s layout

Do you want a formal or informal design? A winding path or a symmetrical layout? You might want to sketch out a plan before you begin planting.

3. Consider the colors and textures of your plants

Shade gardens can be full of lush greens and subtle tones, but also pops of vibrant color that can stand out in a shady corner. Different textures of leaves, from glossy to furry, can add depth and interest.

4. Mix up your plants

A variety of shapes, sizes, and textures can create a more natural-looking landscape. Mix shrubs, ferns, and groundcovers with taller perennials or ornamental grasses.

Native plants are often a good choice for shade gardens because they are adapted to the local conditions.

5. Don’t forget to add some hardscaping elements

A bench, birdbath or small statue can add visual interest and create a focal point in your garden. A path of flagstones or pavers can lead visitors through the space.

Landscape ideas for shaded backyard.  Types of plants that thrive in the shade.

2. Creating a Serene Water Feature

If you want to add a calming touch to your shaded backyard, consider creating a water feature.

A water feature can transform your outdoor space into a tranquil oasis, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Here are some ideas to get you started:


A pond is a popular choice for a water feature. It can be as small or as large as you want and can be designed to fit your backyard. You can add fish and aquatic plants to enhance the look and feel of the pond.


A yard fountain is another great water feature idea. It adds a soothing sound to your backyard and can be made to match the style of your outdoor space.


A waterfall fountain is a beautiful and natural-looking water feature that can be integrated into a rocky area or designed as a standalone feature. It provides a calming sound and creates a peaceful ambiance.


A birdbath is a simple but effective water feature. It not only adds a tranquil touch to your backyard, but it also attracts birds to your outdoor space.

When designing your water feature, consider incorporating natural materials such as rocks and boulders to create a natural look and feel.

Don’t forget to add some aquatic plants and lighting to enhance the beauty of your water feature at night.

With a little planning, a water feature can be a great addition and transform your shaded backyard into a peaceful and relaxing retreat.

3. Building a Cozy Firepit Area

A fire pit is a fantastic addition to any backyard, and it’s even more appealing in shaded spaces.

A bonfire area is the perfect spot for hosting intimate gatherings or having a quiet evening with loved ones.

An outdoor fire pit (or even an outdoor fireplace if you prefer) can create an excellent focal point. Plus, it will help you make the most of your outdoor space.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to create a cozy fire pit area:

Choose a location

The first thing you need to do is decide on the right spot for your fire pit. Make sure to choose an area that is away from any trees, structures, or large overhanging branches.

Dig a hole

Once you’ve selected the spot, you’ll need to dig a hole. It should be around 3 feet in diameter and 1-2 feet deep. Remove all the grass and soil from the hole and make sure it’s level.

Line the hole

Once the hole is dug, it’s time to line it with stones or bricks. Use fire-rated materials to ensure your pit is safe.

Add sand

Spread sand over the bottom of the pit, to a depth of around 2 inches. This helps to absorb heat and prevents the pit from cracking.

Install a fire ring

A fire ring helps to contain the flames and ensures that they don’t spread beyond the pit. It can also be used as a support for your cooking grill.

Add seating

Make sure to include plenty of comfortable seating around your fire pit. You can use benches, chairs or even large cushions for a seating area.

Stock up on firewood

No fire pit area is complete without a good supply of firewood. Make sure to store it somewhere dry, so it’s always ready to use.

4. Incorporating a Rock Garden

If you’re looking to add some texture and visual interest to your shaded backyard, a rock garden could be just what you need.

Rock gardens are a low-maintenance and drought-resistant landscaping option that can add a unique touch to any yard. Plus they don’t need any sun and work perfectly under large shade trees in your outdoor area.

Here are some tips for incorporating a rock garden into your shaded backyard:

Choose the Right Rocks

When selecting rocks for your garden, consider the colors and sizes you want to use. You can use different shapes and sizes of rocks to create interesting patterns and textures in your garden.

Plan the Layout

Consider the size and shape of your backyard when planning the layout for your rock garden. You can use rocks to create a border or incorporate them into the design of your garden.

Select Complementary Plants

When adding plants to your rock garden, consider ones that thrive in the shade. Ferns, hostas, and heucheras are just a few options that will look great next to your rock garden.

Create a Focal Point

To add visual interest to your rock garden, consider adding a focal point. This could be a small statue, birdbath, or even a waterfall.

Add Mulch

To keep weeds from growing and to add an extra layer of insulation, add mulch to your rock garden. You can use wood chips, gravel, or any other type of mulch that complements your rock garden design.

A rock garden is a great way to add visual interest to your shaded backyard while minimizing maintenance.

With a little planning and creativity, you can create a beautiful outdoor space that will be the envy of all your neighbors.

Implementing these landscape ideas for shaded backyard can be simple!

Landscape ideas for shaded backyard.  Types of plants that thrive in the shade.

5. Making a Pathway with Stepping Stones

Adding a pathway with stepping stones can enhance the overall beauty of your shaded backyard. This not only makes it easy for you to walk through the garden but also helps to create an illusion of more space.

Garden paths also protect the lawn and garden from foot traffic.

Determine the route of your pathway

Think about the places in your backyard that you visit frequently or want to highlight. You can choose to make a straight or curved pathway, depending on the design you desire.

Choose the right stepping stones for your pathway

You can choose stones that are similar in size and shape for a consistent look or mix and match different stones for a more eclectic look.

You can also consider using materials like slate, sandstone, or flagstone to create a natural-looking path.

Mark the path with spray paint and dig a shallow trench 

Place a layer of sand in the trench to create a stable base for the stones.

Carefully arrange the stepping stones in the trench, ensuring they are level and spaced evenly apart. Add a layer of gravel between the stones for drainage.

You can also add some landscaping around the stepping stones to create an even more inviting pathway. Use plants like ferns, hostas, heuchera, or shade-loving groundcovers to create a beautiful border.

Types of Plants That Thrive in Shade

Creating a lush and beautiful garden in a shaded backyard may seem difficult, but with the right selection of plants, it is very much possible.

Shady plants thrive in partial to full shade and can add color, texture, and depth to any landscape design.

Here are some of the best plants that can thrive in a shaded backyard:


These shade-loving plants come in a variety of sizes and colors, like green, yellow, blue, and white. They grow well in soil with high organic content and require little maintenance.


With their delicate fronds and soft foliage, ferns are an excellent choice for a shade garden. They prefer moist soil and thrive in partial to full shade.


These perennial plants produce gorgeous flowers that come in shades of pink, white, and red. They grow well in moist soil and prefer partial shade.


These annual flowers come in a range of colors and add a pop of color to any shaded garden. They are easy to grow and prefer well-draining soil.

Coral Bells

These colorful perennials have foliage that ranges from purple to bronze, making them a popular choice for shade gardens. They prefer moist soil and partial shade.


Designing and creating a beautiful landscape for a shaded backyard can be a fun and exciting project to improve your outdoor living spaces.

With a little creativity and inspiration, you can transform your shaded backyard into an outdoor haven that you can enjoy year-round. 

Whichever one of these backyard landscape ideas you like, whether you opt for a serene water feature or a cozy fire pit area, incorporating the right plants, furniture, and decor can help you achieve the perfect outdoor retreat.

A shady yard can be a great thing if you work well with what you have!

By implementing some of the ideas we’ve discussed, you’ll be on your way to creating a stunning and relaxing landscape that you’ll love spending time in.

So go ahead and let your imagination run wild – your backyard is waiting for you!

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

22 Affordable Landscape Edging Ideas

How to Light Up Your Backyard Without Electricity

50 Backyard Bonfire Ideas

The Best Perennials for North Carolina

The Best Generators Made in the USA

Landscape Ideas for Shaded Backyard