The Top 73 Shade Garden Ideas
“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.”- Helen Keller
You’ve tried everything under the sun to grow plants in your backyard. No matter what you do, they seem to slowly die off until they are a shriveled shadow of their former glory. There are several reasons that this happens. One of the most common is a lack of sunlight.
Shade gardening is the solution. You’re buying plants that require more sun than what your backyard gets. Instead of struggling, start focusing on plants that are happy with the amount of sunlight that your property can provide.
These shade garden ideas will help you switch gears and start growing plants successfully. Consider the type of garden you want to have to help narrow down your shade plant options.
1. Backyard Shade Garden Ideas
A shady backyard is a perfect place for relaxing with a cool drink on a hot day. It’s also a great place for growing plants. You just need to choose the right plants that can thrive with the amount of sunlight you have. Sit in your backyard and determine how much sun each area gets throughout the day.
Some areas may get a short time of direct sunlight and then shaded throughout the rest of the day. Other areas may get light to heavy shade and never see any real sun. Try planting heuchera; they have tons of bright colors and enjoy semi-shaded areas.
If you struggle to grow plants in the shadiest areas, then lay pavers and turn this area into your sitting area. Now you’re working with your backyard instead of against it.
2. Cottage Shade Garden Ideas
Turn your backyard into a cottage escape with a stone or gravel path that winds around the trees and bushes. Have a hidden away spot that’s large enough for a small cafe table and chairs. Choose taller plants for placement around the perimeter that will create a natural barrier. Then arrange shade garden plants underneath the trees and along the walkways.
The result should be a shady garden that isn’t perfectly manicured. Everything should blend together. Choose plants with a wide variety of colored flowers. Scatter them and mix them up to create a beautiful display.
Finish your garden with decorative elements. You could have small figurines or large statues. If you have space, add a water feature, such as a fountain or small pond. The sound of running water will give your cottage garden a natural soundtrack.
3. Front Yard Shade Garden Ideas
If your front yard has large shade trees, then you may struggle to grow anything under them. Even grass has a hard time finding the strength to grow in partial shade. This is incredibly frustrating, considering that your front yard has a direct influence on the curb appeal of your home.
The trick that makes your front yard a success is to choose flowering plants that thrive in the partial shade. Create landscaping areas around the trees’ base to fill in the most shaded areas. Use this to your advantage by creating plant beds that cover the areas where the grass struggles to grow the most.
Spread mulch out over the plant beds to create a moist growing environment. Then arrange plants that like to grow in moist soil with shade. You could have several individual plants of the same variety to create a ground covering.
4. Garden Path Shade Ideas
To fully enjoy your garden, you need to have a path that allows you to easily navigate the area. For a rustic path, you could have pea gravel as your paving material. Something a little nicer would be large stones set into the earth.
To create an elegant path, you could use pavers. Since you have a shaded yard, use moss as your ground cover. It can line the path and grow between the stones like a natural grout.
On either side of the path, arrange foliage plants that flower to create a colorful lining. If you have trouble with drainage, dig a trench and fill it with large pebbles and stones. This creates a natural drainage system to prevent standing water. Without direct sunlight, you won’t have the same evaporation that sunnier yards have.
5. Japanese Shade Garden Ideas
If you struggle to grow plants no matter what type of plant you try to grow, then a Japanese rock garden can eliminate the plant problem. Build a sand gravel layer covering the ground. Rake it into specific designs to symbolize water. Place large rocks strategically around the yard to symbolize mountains.
Another great option is a Japanese moss garden. Moss loves humid and shady climates, making this style of garden perfect for your shady backyard. You don’t need a Japanese maple or variegated foliage. All you need is a moss bed and some stones or decorative statues.
You don’t have to turn your entire backyard into a Japanese garden. You can keep it small and only build it where plants struggle to grow the most. Start by pulling out all of the grass and dead plants and creating a mud slurry. Then transplant your moss. It should begin to take hold and thrive, making a soft blanket covering the earth.
6. Landscaped Shade Garden Ideas
When planning out your shady garden, the best time to do your planting is in the early to late spring. Most of the plants you’ll work with experience a growing season from spring through summer. Planting during this time gives them the best survival rate.
Arrange your plants by their shade tolerance and what will visually look the best. Create levels for visual height. Look for plants that grow to different heights and place the tallest furthest away. Think about the blooms your shade perennials produce. You could group several begonias together for a multi-colored display. Or choose plants with white flowers for a clean and crisp look.
When arranging your plants, think about the amount of light the plant needs and where it will get that in your yard. If a plant loves afternoon shade, you don’t want to put it in a spot that gets tons of afternoon sunlight. Similarly, a plant that likes the dappled sun won’t be happy in a spot that never sees the sun.
7. Moss Shade Garden Ideas
Perhaps the majority of your backyard gets plenty of sunlight. You just have one spot that seems to suffer from an abundance of shade. Turn that shady spot into a mini moss garden. Moss and succulents love the moist soil and do well in dry shade as they don’t need a lot of rain.
Give your moss garden personality by building up the earth in places, so there are high and low spots. Then place large rocks or stones around. Use moss to cover the ground. If you want to add some height, plant scattered ferns towards the back or place a statue in the center.
8. Shaded Patio Ideas
Patios are wonderful for giving you an outside living area. However, depending on what side of your home it’s located on, it can experience a high degree of shade. This is because they’re built right off the side of your home. Buildings tend to block the most amount of light, making it difficult to grow plants on your patio.
What you need are pots filled with shade-loving plants to decorate your patio. These shade-tolerant plants won’t mind that they don’t get much face time with the sun. If you want plants that are even lower maintenance, stick with flowering perennials or an ostrich fern. These won’t require you to change them out year after year. They’ll also add plenty of colors and lush greenery to your patio.
Tropical plants can grow happily in large pots. Place these around the perimeter of your patio to create a lush and secluded feeling. You and your guests will enjoy the natural privacy created.
9. Side Yard Shade Garden Ideas
A skinny side yard area tends to get the least amount of light. It’s usually sandwiched between two homes or a fence, which blocks the sunlight from two directions. With the limited amount of mid-day sun, you’re limited on the plants that will grow. Look for plants that want to avoid the full sun, and place them along the side of your home. This will allow them to get plenty of indirect light, but they won’t burn from direct sun exposure.
The easiest way to care for this shady landscape is to keep your plants in pots. Move the pots around your home to find the ideal growing conditions for each plant. Transfer them to larger pots in late spring as they grow. If you want to create a colorful walkway, consider the astilbe. It grows in numerous shades of red, pink, white, and purple.
10. Tropical Shade Garden Ideas
When you think about tropical plants, you immediately think of tons of sunshine. How could you grow a tropical garden in a shady backyard that lacks the sunlight that tropical plants crave? However, not all tropical plants like the bright sun. Some prefer light shade.
Look for the smaller tropical shade plants that grow underneath the larger sun-loving ones. These plants, like the dicentra spectabilis, prefer dappled shade. They grow closer to the ground and underneath the leaves of the larger palms.
Elephant ears are a classic tropical plant that has huge leaves, and yet it loves the shade. These are perfect if you need a plant that will act as a natural barrier and fill in an area with a large height and width. A giant bird of paradise is another shade-loving tropical plant that also comes with the benefit of colorful orange and purple flowers.
11. Water Feature Shade Garden Ideas
Adding a water feature to your garden gives it a unique look and sound. If you don’t have a lot of room, then stick with a small self-contained fountain. Slightly larger patios and backyards can have a larger water feature that’s a small pond. Build up around it with stones to create a waterscape feature.
Large backyards can support a full pond. This is perfect if you want to have goldfish or koi. Build up around the water with moss and succulents that will enjoy the moisture-rich environment and lack of sun. Construct a small decking area around one portion for a sitting area. For a creative touch, build a bridge over the pond or have a large stone path walkway through the middle of it.
12. Woodland Shade Garden Ideas
If you have several tall trees in your yard, you’re probably contending with deep shade. Embrace the dense shade and pine trees and other large trees and create a woodland atmosphere? Plant smaller ground cover plants to protect the tree roots and create a layered effect.
When choosing your low to the ground plants, stick with ones that you would find in the woods. A few hosta shrubs or ferns can produce numerous leaves and spread out to be effective ground covers.
The key to creating a beautiful and successful woodland garden is to follow the cues of nature. Look at natural woodlands, and you’ll see high and mid canopies. Then there’s an understory and ground covering.
You already have the high or mid-canopies with your trees. The shrubs you plant will be your shade-loving understory shrubs. For a ground cover, you can use moss.
Shade Garden FAQs
Consider planting Coral Bells, Foamflower, Plumeria, Foxglove, or Primrose. These are all plants that thrive in shady areas that may lack natural sunlight. This will give you a beautiful mix of leafy greens and colorful blooms in reds, whites, pinks, and purples.
Embrace the cool feeling of your shade garden by using stones and water features. Pick a few types of plants that enjoy the shade and look beautiful together. Then use several of them throughout your garden for a feeling of unity and balance.
Add bright colors by planting flowering plants that will create a splash of color. Add decorative fairy lights to your garden. String them around the perimeter or above the walkways. Choose pavers or stones that are a light color for the walkways and sitting areas.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.