I live in Victoria BC Canada which is zone 7 - 9 depending on which map you use (mild with lots of rain, rarely snows). I have a space that's 15 feet wide at the back, 16 feet in front, and 11 ft long. There's an apple tree in the middle near the front. The space is mostly shaded but one side gets a small amount of sun in the evening. It will get even less sun once the leaves grow on the tree. There's a 1 ft high concrete wall behind the garden with a long narrow concrete planter behind that, another 1/2 ft higher. The planter is along a fence where grapes grow along the top. There's a tall stump in an awkward place near the back of one side of the space. I'm not an expert, but the soil looks good to me (fairly dark and moist with lots of worms). There's a composter we've been adding to all year in the middle of the space right now. It will be moved.
The grapes limit the height of anything I put in the planter to about 2 ft. I was thinking I'd plant ferns and hostas there or something not too tall. But I can't figure out what to plant in the main garden space. I have some astilbe coming I'd like to incorporate somewhere. The catalogue says it's height is 2-3 ft. I was thinking I could plant them in the back but I'm worried they'd obstruct the view of whatever I put in the planter. Would it work to put them in front and put something shorter in the back? I've taken some pics and can post them if that would help (if I can figure out how). I was also wondering if the space would work better as a raised bed. But that would obstruct the view of the planter along the fence even more. I'd love some opinions and ideas. Thanks!