Easy Shade Garden Ideas: Castlecrag Case Study

Project details

  • Recently excavated
  • Private backyard and front yard
  • Family friendly
  • Lots of shade [backyard]

Key goals

  • Select low maintenance plants
  • Plants must be shade tolerant
  • Modern design
  • Provide privacy from neighbours

The challenge

Whilst we were presented with a blank canvas for this job, the back garden had been recently excavated by builders and they had left the soil stripped about 30cm down. The challenge here was that the side passage is very narrow, so a solution was required to move a large amount of soil to the back. The back garden contained a large tree, which covered it in shade for most of the day. Our client’s family included young children, which meant it was essential that the turf could withstand not only the shade but the impact of regular play.

Our approach

  • Soil: The back garden required an additional 30cm of soil in order to reach the required height. However, due to the very narrow side access to the back garden, our only solution was to pump the soil.

Easy Shade Garden Ideas - soil

  • Turf: We selected Sir Walter Buffalo because it will tolerate the sun as well as the shade, and it’s quite a tough grass and with kids running around on it all the time, it’s very practical.

[img attachment=”4385″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas – turf” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

  • “Pool Friendly” plants: Around the pool, we selected a range of low maintenance plants that do not drop a lot of leaves. The Golden Canes were a good choice, as they are able to tolerate full sun and to create layers we added Little Rubies and Xanadus. Each of these plant varieties will also handle the splash of chlorinated water from the pool.

[img attachment=”4386″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas – pool friendly” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

  • Provide privacy: Along the back fence, we chose to plant Podocarpus. It’s quite a narrow plant so you can keep it very close against the fence. The plan is to let it grow about half a metre above the top of the fence so that it provides a screen from the house behind. For the side, we selected Little Gem Magnolias, which will be pruned to be 2-2.5 metres high so they grow as a hedge. Magnolia little gem is not often used as a hedge, but they love to be pruned and will become a thick screen. For the street front, we placed a couple of bits of timber to create the illusion of a fence, with plants in between to create privacy – without physically having a fence.

[img attachment=”4387″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas – provide privacy” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

  • Shade Tolerance: For the central bed in the back garden, shade tolerant plants were chosen such as New Zealand rock lilies, which have a beautiful pink flower with flowerettes along the spike. We also selected the Guzmania bromeliad and a cycad as the feature plant. We mulched in between the plants; however, once the plants grow and spread, you won’t see any of the mulch. Similarly, the low-maintenance tri-colour Star Jasmine will spread to make a border below the Podocarpus.

[img attachment=”4388″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas – shade tolerance” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


  • Create a modern look: For the front garden, we designed square gardens, with different things planned for each square. For example, we mixed succulents with some exotic plants. Core 10 steel was used to frame the garden in both the front and the back as the edging. This steel develops lovely colours as it rusts and will create a modern look.

[img attachment=”4389″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas – modern look” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

  • A touch of colour: Succulents were planted in little troughs and bolted to the wall outside the kitchen window. Again, they’re low maintenance and it’s quite a sunny spot around there, so they’ll do really well – but most importantly, they add a lovely dash of colour.[img attachment=”4398″ size=”large” alt=”Easy Shade Garden Ideas: Castlecrag Case Study – touch of colour” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

Do you need shade garden ideas?

If you have a garden, courtyard or balcony that is shaded for most or all of the day, plant selection is critical! We offer landscaping and design services to ensure you get the right advice so that your plants thrive.
For more information, please give us a call or visit us to schedule a free consultation.

[img attachment=”4081″ size=”large” alt=”landscape design consultation” align=”alignnone” linkto=”custom” url=”https://mosarte.com.au/contact-us/” /]