Shade to Sun – A Journey of a Perennial Garden

My first visit to this Minneapolis home along Minnehaha Creek was to see a shade garden now exposed to full sun due to the absence the 4-foot diameter silver maple.  Over time and with assistance from the clients the shade garden was eventually transformed into a colorfully layered sunny perennial garden.

A few years later the backyard was also given a makeover, creating a colorful and artful experience.

2016 Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association design award recipient

2016 Association of Professional Landscape Designers award recipient – Bronze


Arrived to see a 4-foot diameter stump surrounded by shade plants; hosta, lily of the valley, hyacinth, pachysandra.  All these shade loving plants were now in full sun since the loss of one of the largest silver maples in the Minnehaha Creek neighborhood.

Clients wanted to transform the shade garden into a garden that will thrive in full sun.

Backyard beds were choked with various ground covers that were competing with each other and other plants while also creeping into the lawn.  It was a mess.


In the front yard the huge stump was ground out and the shade plants were either transplanted to the backyard or given away to friends.  The client edged the beds with stone that had from another project.  Once composted soils were brought in sun loving perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees were installed to create a tapestry of color and texture through the season.  Limestone outcroppings placed along the paths and in the gardens assisted in organizing the garden.

The backyard was edged in stone to define the lawn from the gardens.  Pachysandra mixed with Vinca were the only ground covers to remain.  A mixture of new and existing plants were woven to together to enliven the garden throughout the seasons.