Sample garden design: part sun ornamental garden

These plants won’t thrive in full sun or full shade; they prefer somewhere in between.

If you’ve noticed areas of your garden where you thought it was sunny but your full–sun plants won’t flower, or areas you thought to be shady but your shade plants are getting sunburnt, then it’s probably an ideal area for a part–sun/part–shade plant. Don’t hesitate to move your plants around if they aren’t thriving in a certain light.

Plants used in this design

Spring interest

  • Helleborus spp., lenten rose
  • Symphoricarpos spp., snowberry
  • Tiarella cordifolia, foam flower
  • Acanthus mollis, bear’s breeches

Summer interest

  • Pulsatilla spp., pasque flower
  • Platycodon grandiflorus, balloon flower
  • Sisyrinchium spp., blue-eyed grass
  • Scabiosa spp., pincushion flower
  • Chelone glabra, white turtlehead
  • Thalictrum spp., meadow rue

Fall interest

  • Epimedium spp., barrenwort
  • Carex oshimensis, ‘Evergold’
    variegated Japanese sedge
  • Deschampsia spp., tufted hair grass
  • Cimicifuga racemosa, snakeroot
  • Symphyotrichum laeve, smooth aster


Receives sunlight either in the morning or afternoon for at least three to six hours per day.


This garden ideally contains rich soil which will hold moisture well. Add 5 centimetres (2 inches) of organic matter (compost, manure, leaf mold) every two years. This will feed your plants, eliminating the need to fertilize, and increasing your plants’ hardiness in the dry conditions of the summer months.


New plants may need extra watering until the roots are well established (one to two seasons).

2 MBPrint-friendly: Part sun – ornamental garden