If your yard is in the shade, grow plants that are shade-tolerant. Not all plants are sun lovers, so if your garden doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight, consider adding a variety suited to shadier areas.
Here are five good picks:
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is one of the best flowering plants for a shade garden. It's an old-fashioned plant that can thrive with near neglect, and it will reward you each spring with gorgeous pink-and-white heart-shaped flowers on arching, graceful stems. It will get wider and taller over the years, until it's about three feet tall and wide. The pretty blue-green foliage looks good all through the growing season. It prefers a fairly shady spot, and if it gets too much afternoon sun, its leaves will shrivel and pout. Be sure to give it plenty of water. If you deadhead the spent blooms in spring, you'll often be rewarded with another smaller bloom in fall.
Lungwort is a plant suited to a really shady garden. It's a low-growing plant, reaching only about a foot tall and wide. It has very pretty foliage, often with spots of a lighter shade of green or white, and it looks good throughout the growing season. The flowers are colourful clusters that shoot up in all directions in spring, starting out as shades of pink, and changing to purple and blue as they age.
Hosta Plants are the go-to plants for shade gardens for good reason - they thrive in non-sunny areas and are known for their foliage. They come in many different sizes, shapes and colours. You can find huge plants with leaves over a foot wide, or tiny plants with delicate, dainty leaves. The same amount of variety is found in foliage colour - everything from bright lime green to dark purple, solid colours and many with striking patterns. As if that weren't enough, you can also find many different foliage shapes, from long spiky leaves to big elephant ear shapes.
Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) is a dramatic plant that thrives in a shady garden. (It's not actually a grass, despite the name). It's a low-growing plant, usually less than a foot tall, that forms rounded clumps of spiky black foliage. When planted in bunches about a foot apart, they will spread into one other, providing a great contrast to plants with lighter foliage. Black mondo grass blooms in spring with small white or pink flowers that get lost in the foliage. Although the flowers can be easily missed, the foliage will stay dark and dramatic all through the growing season.
Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvatica) really should not be forgotten! It's an easy-to-grow perennial that does well in a shady garden. Forget-me-nots are an early spring bloomer that will reseed and spread, coming out with the daffodils. Their cheery little blooms come in pink, white and purple. After they bloom, all the plants seem to disappear, but by the next spring, they'll pop up in those same places as well as some new ones. They spread, but aren't a horribly aggressive spreader.