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16 Perfect Plants for a Woodland Garden

Woodland gardens are typically thought of as enchanting spots in a garden where there is ample shade throughout the day. Dappled sunlight at different times add peeks of light, though these gardens aren't known to be in full sun locations; more like under a canopy of mature trees.


Woodland gardens often feature plants that are native to the area. They also provide a habitat for many pollinators through the use of certain blooms, evergreens, and the use of rocks, which, when damp, create small puddles in the crevices where pollinators can easily drink from. If you have a shaded area in your yard that you'd like to transform into one of these lovely outdoor gardening spaces, read on! We're sharing several trees, shrubs, and perennials today that would work wonderfully to create such a space. Many are native to TN; all mentioned below thrive in our area.

Trees and Shrubs:













Perennials:







Layering and repetition is important in a woodland garden (and in landscape in general). Texture helps adds visual layers and interest in your gardening space. See our photo examples above of how, in photo 1, repeated use of the variegated Hosta helps your eyes visually move throughout the garden. Other textures, shapes, and sizes such as the Hydrangea, Japanese Maple, and low growing Japanese Painted Fern in front of the rocks adds interest and beauty. Rocks dispersed in different areas add to the natural sense to the garden. In photo 2, your eye is immediately drawn to the beautiful ferns- they sweep across the entire garden and help draw your eye to see the entire landscape. Azaleas are part of the backdrop in this garden, as Hosta, Lenten Rose, and possibly Solomon's Seal (or a similar plant) are sprinkled in.


Woodland gardens work best in the shadiest spots in your garden. They especially look magical in areas where they back up to a forest (or many trees), in the corner of a garden under trees, on the north side of a house, or in an unsuspecting location that one will "stumble" upon when walking through a backyard. Add a concrete bench in your woodland garden to be tempted to stay for awhile and enjoy its beauty.

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