This little bit of our garden, contrary to this picture, is in the shade almost all day just getting a little late afternoon sun. As a result the grass doesn't grow too well under the Maple tree and the Hubster wants to do away with it.
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings recommended these, so I have planted 2 Japanese Kerria (either side) and a Diablo Ninebark in the middle. These are all shade loving shrubs that will mature to about 8' x 8' eventually and fill this space very effectively. The Japanese Kerria are very open shrubs with interestingly shaped bright green foliage and pretty yellow blooms in early summer. The Ninebark has gorgeous dark red/purple foliage and white blooms, together they will contrast beautifully.
So they might not look like much at the moment but a few years from now they will solve a problem area and look great.