For some reason my text (user error) my text did not attach with my pic above. I had the beds put in last year and this picture is of North side of house in OK. It is about 12 x 15 on east (left in pic) and 12 x 19 on west (right) side. There are ferns up against the house under the windows. They survived the winter very well and are putting out new shoots. There are barberrys on both corners. They are doing okay. Last year I had calladiums where the tall rocks are in the center. The calladiums did not do so well. The leaves looked burned even though they did not get a lot of sun. I had elephant ears just west of the area shown, and they did extremely well last year. I just wasn't smart enough to know that you are supposed to dig them up. I am a gardening newbie, and want something low maintenance, but pretty. Ideas?
What part of OK are you in - do you know what landscaping zone?
merdena, you can enter your zip code here and find your USDA zone:
Impatiens is a copiously-flowering annual that is easy to find, usually flowering in a range of white-pink-red-purple shades.
Heucheras (aka coral bells; all sorts of leaf colors) do well in shade; astilbes and tiarellas are similar, though without wild leaf colors. Vinca minor (lavender blue flowers) is happy in shade, though it will take over; people either love it or hate it. Lamium is another spreader; it has a variety of leaf patterns as well as bloom colors. Hostas come in all sizes, with leaf colors in the green-blue-cream range and white-to-purple flowers on tall spikes.
Early woodland wild flowers like bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, Solomon's seal, etc. have a short blossom season, but bloom before everything else wakes up. I've found that violets are happy anywhere, including shade; I dig them out of the pasture and plant them under the large trees in the side yard where grass won't grow. Lilies of the valley will take over -- but if you like them, go for it!
I am in zone 6B. I have some hostas in another area that are coming back from last year. They are doing very well. Also 4 hydrangea that are coming back nicely from last year. Ideas???
Any other suggestions, please???
For plant suggestions you are really better off going to local nurseries and seeing what they have in stock than asking an internet forum that includes people who live in many different gardening zones and have different plant preferences. That way you can choose things that will grow in your zone and also fit your gardening style. But even the nursery route will not save you from the reality that trial and error are an inevitable part of an introduction to gardening!
But having said that, I don't really understand the information in your OP. Your text suggests you are wanting to discuss two planting beds, but your photo shows a single square area with some rocks in the middle. It is a cool little area but in terms of making design suggestions we would have to know if it is the front, back, or side of the house and what, if anything, the purpose of the area is in terms of your gardening or land use objectives.
Your house looks to be made of a beautiful stone and I think the idea of gravel with a stonescape or statuary is actually a pretty good one for complementing that, no need for a lot of plants here at all.
Camellias, camellias, camellias! This protected, shady area just begs for camellias! They are slow growing, evergreen and flowering. No bare sticks in winter, no hedges to trim. What more could you ask for?! They are one of my favorite plants. An investment, for sure, but I just finished planting a slew of them as a permanent investment in the shady-areas landscaping of my home. They replaced shrubs that needed to be trimmed weekly. I just LOVE my new camellias. If you want to browse and drool at different varieties, see the link below.
Have fun with your new beds!
Here is a link that might be useful: Camellia Forest
Love your stone walls! Can't tell by the photo if the ground is gravel, dead leaves or what. I agree with love_the_yard about Camellias. I'd put them in large containers and use as specimens.