I would like to plant some ornamental grasses or small shrubs along my...

Asked July 22, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

I would like to plant some ornamental grasses or small shrubs along my foundation in front of the house. I have many perennials but they aren't large enough to cover the foundation and it looks very bare. The house faces north and, no matter the time of day, there is no direct sun right along the foundation. I have several yews mixed in with Goatsbeard & Astilbe there now. The yews are yellow and struggling. However, the shade plants do fine. I don't like Hosta because they get slugs. The photo I have attached were taken at 3:00 pm. As you can see, it's all shade right back along the foundation. Any suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated.

Hennepin County Minnesota

4 Responses

Most ornamental grasses require full sun.

Prairie dropseed tolerates partial shade. It forms an attractive clump that grows 1.5 to 2 feet tall.

http://www.co.becker.mn.us/dept/soil_water/PDFs/flowers_grasses/Prairie%20Dropseed.pdf

Also consider tufted hair grass and hakonegrass.

Some grass-like sedges tolerate light to medium shade: fox sedge, yellow sedge, Gray's sedge, palm sedge.

Ferns might grow well in the location you have described.

Shrubs: boxwood, azalea, barberry, clethra, daphne, dwarf cranberry (Viburnum).

Thank you so much for the suggestions and for taking the time to reply.

The question assigning system sent your thank you note to another volunteer (me) and since I researched your question a bit before noticing it had been answered I will add one of my favorite references and a comment http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/best-plants-for-tough-sites/docs/08464-s...
Yews do well in full shade but they do not do well if the soil pH is not > 5.5 or < 7.5. They also need well drained soil to thrive. http://www.bachmans.com/Garden-Care/divHomePage.html?cnb=GardenCare&categoryCode=02&pageInde...

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply and for the wealth of information.

Bonnie