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the back of our garden suffers from a lot of shade and tree cover, and I find it very hard to grow any grass in this area. I have tried seeds and they just won't sprout. Can anyone advise on how I can successfully grow grass in this area.

also, what border plants and shrubs would thrive well in such conditions?


Peter Reason

Hi Michael, you need to know whether it is (normally!!!!) dry soil or whether there is some moisture underneath which is important in deciding what plants will survive there. I guess that the grass is not surviving because it is too dry there.

Also you need to be sure whether it is semi shade or shade.

If it is dry shade see

Hiya Michael.

There are one or two threads about growing in shade.......still current.  

There are plenty of plants that will grow in shade.  I guess it is dry shade..?

Grass will struggle there I think. I put some grass seed down for a friend in her woodland area.  It has done very well.  I used a dwarf hard wearing rye grass mixture......available everywhere.  Her site is partial shade though.

If you can't access those threads re growing in shade we can suggest them again here 


Right plant for right place. Grass needs light so why bother trying to grow something that plainly does not want to grow there? Half m front garden is in full shade and I have given up trying to grow grass there as it is too dark for it to grow right.

Try shade loving plants like Mahonia, Aucuba japonica, Jabobs ladder, majority of Ferns, Brunnera etc.



I've got a large shady area under and around my big ash trees - things that are doing well there are cyclamen hederifolium, Vinca major, dryopteris, pulmonaria, mahonia, anemone x hybrida September Charm, alchemilla mollis and lamium maculatum with lonicera and clematis montana on the fences.


Some grasses will grow but not the sort you cut and walk on. Millium effusum 'Aureum', Mr Bowles' golden grass, looks great in shade, shines out.

Stipa arundinacea, pheasant grass, now called something else but I haven't updated my mental file. That's good anywhere and does well in shade. 

Oryzopsis miliacea, looks good in shade, I'm sure it shouldn't thrive there but it seems to.

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