Design is always a matter of personal taste, but shade gardens lend themselves to understatement. Focusing on foliage and texture rather than flower color, will give you the most natural effect. While there are many plants that will flower in shade, colors will be more muted than in a sun garden. White flowers and variegation will add brightness to a shade garden, however yellow variegation tends to be less pronounced when grown in shady conditions. Delicate foliage and flowers lose even more definition in shade. Plants with strong form and bold leaves will stand out more clearly.
Designing a Shade Garden
A natural woodland is layered with plants: a tall canopy of trees, under story trees and shrubs and then a herbaceous plant layer. You may not have room to recreate this, but you can create interest by choosing plants in pairings, rather than as specimens.