In a sunny, well-drained garden, spread gravel 1 in (2.5 cm) deep over a
geotextile membrane; this will suppress weeds and create a seaside
mood. If you plan to lay down paving, it needn’t stay dull and gray.
Leave out a slab here and there to make room for a small tree or low
shrub, and plant small ferns or creeping Jenny in moist, shady cracks.
Plants such as cyclamen, hellebores, or Vinca minor grow well under
While grass might not tolerate a very shady, damp area, this is the
perfect environment for moss to establish; let it spread, don’t walk on
it too often, and plant early-flowering bulbs like snowdrops (Galanthus)
or lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis).
Cyclamen is quite happy growing in the shade cast by trees, providing
ground cover and brightening up a shady spot.