Shade Painting

We are experts in creating shade gardens.  We offer a design service that will help you create an asset that will be enjoyed for many years.  A lovely shade garden will add substantial value to your home.  We want to make your yard look spectacular from early spring through to late fall.

We are not general landscapers so we don't build walls or add other structures to your garden. We use plants as art in your back yard.  We will pick hostas and companion plants that will create a tapestry of color behind your deck.  What we do:

  • Design a painted garden using hostas and other shade companions.
  • Dig holes and plant your precious new products where they will thrive
  • Maintain your garden to its perfect level
  • Provide edging and mulching for your landscape
  • Get your garden ready for winter and clean up in spring (only for gardens that we plan)


Savory's Gardens offers over 700 hostas.  Colors range from blue/pewter to gold to almost white.  Stems can be green, pink, and red.  The options for variegation are almost unlimited.  The rows of uniform hostas that lined the driveways and sidewalks in the 1980's need to be forgotten.  But even with all of this hosta variety, companion plants can add colors and textures that are outside of the hosta family.  At the top of the list of course are ferns which thrive in the shade and add an entirely new texture to the shade garden.  Following are other plants that we might recommend as a part of a garden design:

  • Aralia Sun King--This upright plant can reach 4' in height and adds a great contrasting bright yellow gold plant.  Especially nice up against a large dark blue hosta.
  • Aquillega (Columbines)—Bell shaped flowers are good at attracting hummingbirds and other birds.  These plants are relatively short lived and somewhat delicate. 
  • Astilbe--These plants add lacy texture and bright spires of whites, pinks, reds, and purples in early summer.  A nice transition plant in part sun.
  • Bergenia--An evergreen plant that is very hardy.  It's shiny leaves make a great ground cover.  Small pink flowers emerge early in the spring.
  • Brunnera (False Forget Me Not)--A deer resistant plant with beautiful foliage and a spray of small blue flowers that last for weeks.
  • Carex (Sedge)--Native ornamental grasses that add a wide range of colors to the shade garden.  These are borderline cold hearty for the Minneapolis area.
  • Cimicifuga—A very nice and lacy dark burgundy foliage plant.  Nice contrast to other bright colored plants such as gold colored hostas.
  • Cypripedium (Lady Slipper)--Lady Slippers are spectacular plants with blooms that light up a corder of the garden that gets morning or evening sun.  They are a conversation piece.  Expensive, but worth the effort for one or two.
  • Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)--These plants are one of the first to bloom in spring, often before hostas even poke through the ground.  They die back in late June so not the best plant for someone with limited space.
  • Epimedium (Fairy Wings)--Low format plants that make a great ground cover.  Their small orchid like blooms are a highlight of the spring garden.  Requires some covering in the upper midwest.
  • Ferns—Ferns are the prom date for a hosta.  They can tolerate shade and love the same kind of rich organic soil that the hosta thrives on.  Some species can be difficult to contain and should be avoided. 
  • Hakonechloa—This is a very beautiful ornamental grass with bright line green colors.  Adds nice texture to the shade garden.  Requires winter covering to thrive in the Twin Cities area.
  • Helleborous (Lenten Rose)—Probably the very first thing to emerge in the garden once the late spring snow melts.  Flowers of recent hybrids are quite spectacular.  They can take a fair bit of space, so avoid if you have a very small garden.
  • Heuchara--This plant makes a great dab of color to a hosta garden.  Foliage can be red, purple, yellow, and bright lime green--all colors that make a nice contrast to hostas.  Two or three of these plants can make a beautiful piece of art in the shade.
  • Martagon Lilly--A shade loving lilly with profuse blooms in early summer.  It's tall format makes for a nice accent to the shade garden.  It can take a few years to reach its full potential.
  • Primula (Primrose)--This low format plant has beautiful foliage and colorful blooms.  Recent hybrids come in a wide variety of colors.  Looks great at the front edge of a shade garden.
  • Pulmonaria (Lungwort)--A spreading mound is one of the first plants to turn green in the spring time.  Leaves have an unusual text that makes a nice contrast to hostas.
  • Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal)—These classic shade perennials display a white row of flowers in the spring shade garden.  Recent introduction add some very nice variegation to the mix.
  • Tiarella (Foam Flower)—These plants make a nice transition between sun and shade.  They are short and spread horizontally, so they make a great ground cover.  An enormous number of options have been added in the past decade.
  • Tricytris (Toad Lilly)--These spires are a great plant with blooms in late summer after most other perennials are getting ready for winter.  The orchid like flowers should be protected from rabbits who find them perfect food for fall.  Requires some covering for winter.
  • Trillium—Unlike many garden plants with exotic origins, trilliums are native the woodlands of North America.  Three leaves and three petals give this plant its name.  They bloom early and light up the shade garden in early spring.

Together these plants offer blooms from snow melt to late in the fall.  When the final melt of winter is complete, you will feel the excitement of green leaves that break through to the surface.  Then, in early to mid May, your hostas will start to pop through the surface and feed the excitement of spring into summer.

Process and Cost

The following are prices for our garden design and support services:

  • Design blueprint--$1/square foot with $100 minimum and $250 maximum.  Includes one onsite visit to take pictures and evaluate the location.
  • Planting--$25/plant which includes black dirt and organic material.  Also includes one checkup after 2-3 weeks.
  • Edging, mulching, and other services -- $50/hour plus cost of materials
  • Garden refresh (weeding, mulch refresh,  and pest control)  $0.50/square foot per visit
  • Fall readiness prep -- $1.00 square foot

All of the prices are estimates.  We will give you a specific proposal for our work effort.  We can be reached at or 612 481 8489.  Design and planting services are avaiilable within 25 miles of Minneapolis.