Ideas for Woodland Gardens

Written by sarah schreiber
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Ideas for Woodland Gardens
A woodland garden makes a relaxing retreat. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Strolling on an intricately landscaped path as the sunlight streams through the trees is an appealing thought for backyard gardeners. If you're fortunate enough to have a small forest on your property, creating a woodland garden is an option. Turn an area beneath the trees into a relaxing respite, whether it's a place you walk through or spend time sitting, taking in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Shade-Loving Plants

Focus on plants that thrive in the shade. There is a wide variety of plants and flowers that can work in a woodland setting with limited full-sun areas. Flowers such as lilies, azaleas, hostas and daffodils all can grow in a shady environment. Ground covers such as ferns, ivy and moss can provide added embellishment to your woodland garden while blending in well with the setting.

Seating Areas

Plan a seating area so you and your garden visitors can have a place to be tranquil in the serene setting of your woodland landscape. Use elements that blend into nature, such as a stone bench, log chairs or unpainted wood patio furniture. You may even want to include a table where you can dine al fresco. Be sure to clear a large enough spot for your needs. This may involve some intensive weeding and debris removal, depending on the woods.


Create a path that leads into and around your woodland garden. Even if you don't have a very large garden, defining a path or a trail is important, as a forest area can become overgrown. The path can be anything from a simple trail cleared of debris to a walkway made of brick pavers. It all depends on the look and feel you are going for, but regardless of the type, be prepared to maintain it.

Water Feature

Add a water feature such as a small pond, or if you're fortunate enough to have access to one, design your woodland garden around it. Water features tend to attract wildlife and can potentially give garden visitors the chance to observe animals in action.

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