How To Design A Goth Garden

Dark BasilBasil 'Dark Opal' is fabulously fragrant and a moody mix of purple and deep green — perfect for a goth garden!

Do you prefer moody moss over sappy sunflowers? Are you more creepy chic than cottagecore cute? Then it's time to grow a GOTH GARDEN ☠️

What Is A Goth Garden?

A modern goth garden is a style of garden design that combines traditional gothic themes of death and decay, with the brooding feel of Victorian-era romanticism. It typically features dark and mysterious elements that reflect a macabre aesthetic and atmosphere.

3 Tips For Designing a Goth Garden

 Gothic Arch Trellis with white climbing flowersThe 70-inch Gothic Wall Trellis provides study, spooky, support for vines.

1. Design For The Dark

Skip the neatly trimmed hedges and straight, formal walkways. Instead, make meandering pathways that create a sense of mystery and keep your garden visitors guessing as to where it will lead. Include plenty of hidden corners that can be accented with fountains, miniature fairy garden vignettes, or the odd bat house.

Hardscaping — solid, non-living features made of stone, metal, and concrete — can help create focal points for the eye to settle on. Antique planters and fantasy-inspired statuary accents like gnomes and gargoyles can be tucked between plants to create year-round interest even when things aren't blooming. Arches and trellises do double-duty: they frame and delineate pathways, as well as keep vining fruits and flowers off the ground.

2. Let In (Some) Light

It doesn't have to be all dark. Adding some strategically-placed lighting along pathways and near seating areas will help set the ambiance and make for a safer evening garden walk. Solar-powered lights are cost-effective and incredibly energy efficient.

Tiny Mushroom String LightsGently glowing light features amp up the ambiance in a goth garden.

3. Plant A Macabre Mood

Purple-podded pole beanDark and delicious heirloom purple-podded pole beans looks beautiful draped over a trellis.

Selecting plants with unique shapes, textures, and forms can evoke a sense of mystery and drama; think thorny plants, ornamental grasses, and shrubs with a striking shape (i.e. Curly Willow). Allow moss to take over stone benches and, if your growing climate supports it, let Spanish moss drape from tree branches.

For a gorgeous goth garden, swap neon zinnias and pastel peonies for plants in rich reds, inky purples, and deep browns. You may be surprised how many shrubs, perennials, and yes, even edible veggies and herbs, come in dark colors.

Dark-Colored Plants

Edible Plants Shrubs Perennials
  • Cherry Tomato 'Indigo Cherry Drops'
  • Basil 'Dark Opal'
  • Purple-podded pole beans
  • Eggplant 'Black Beauty'
  • Black Nebula Carrot
  • Corn 'Dakota Black'
  • Tomato 'Black Krim'
  • Bell pepper 'Purple Beauty'
  • Purple Lady Bok Choy
  • Black Lace® Elderberry 'Eva'
  • Diabolo® Ninebark 'Monlo'
  • Summer Wine® Black Ninebark
  • Ginger Wine® Ninebark
  • Smoke Bush 'Lilla'
  • Smoke Tree 'Royal Purple'
  • Summerific® 'Holy Grail' Hardy Hibiscus
  • Dark Star® Purple Leaf Sand Cherry
  • Dwarf Red Leaf Sand Cherry
  • Spilled Wine® Weigela
  • Weigela 'Dark Horse'
  • Chinese Fringe Flower 'Purple Majesty'
  • Astilbe 'Dark Side of the Moon'
  • Bugleweed 'Black Scallop'
  • Calla lily 'Odessa'
  • Helleborus 'New York Night'
  • Heuchera 'Forever Purple'
  • Heuchera 'Black Pearl'
  • Hollyhock 'Dark Knight'
  • Penstemon 'Dark Towers'
  • Sedum 'Night Embers'
  • Snakeroot "Chocoholic'
  • Tulip 'Queen of Night'
  • Viola 'Molly Sanderson'

Goth gardens may be eerie, but they don't need to be restricted to just the last week in October; ultimately a goth garden is about creating an atmospheric, unconventional, and somewhat mysterious outdoor space that reflects the dark beauty and wonder of the natural world.

Heuchera ObsidianHeuchera 'Obsidian' thrives in part shade, is hardy in zones 4-9, and boasts rich burgundy foliage that appears nearly black.

Last updated: 12/21/2023