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Design a Vibrant Shade Garden

Schedule and Location

Thornhill Education Center

  • Section A:Thursday, March 7, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to noon Informational Session ONLY
  • Section B: Thursdays, March 7 through 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to noon Informational Session AND workshop

Fees and Registration

Informational Session Only (Section A)
$39.00 member
$46.00 nonmember (Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

Information Session AND Workshop (Section B)
$85.00 member
$99.00 nonmember (Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course Description

Achieve beauty in the shade! Bring life and interest to even the shadiest parts of your landscape with plant lists, design ideas, and maintenance tips from a practicing landscape designer.  We will begin by answering the question: Is it shade, or is it SHADE? After all, there are five different kinds of shade, and each must be designed uniquely. Once we understand what type of shade you have in your garden, you can employ a variety of design techniques, which we will examine in this class, such as:

  • lighting with plants,
  • layering,
  • creating variety, and
  • using hardscape for texture.

The Week 1 informational session will include tips on how to create and maintain healthy soil in the shade garden, how to manage drainage and how to go beyond the ordinary in using groundcovers. We’ll look at photos that illustrate these design secrets and showcase many plants for shade that you might not know about! Following the informational session, the optional workshop sessions in Weeks 2 and 3 will provide professional guidance to participants who wish to design their own shade garden.

Course number



Carol Becker, landscape designer, Sage Advice, LLC

Course Details

Notes: Held indoors. Students signing up for the three-week program (Section B) will need a copy of Making the Most of Shade by Larry Hodgson, Rodale Press, 2005, available at the Arboretum Store or online. Limit 20

Arboretum class weather, cancellation, and refund policies.

Design a Vibrant Shade Garden