Plant selection is everything in landscape design.
It’s well known that choosing the right materials for the site’s conditions and microclimate are essential to a successful garden.
And developing a palette of plants with offset bloom times and adequate evergreen material can ensure interest that lasts year-round. But when it comes to developing a layout, there is a simple rule that allows every plant to stand out and work together to complement and harmonize the composition.
Consider these elements of design in which contrasting materials can create drama and interest in the landscape:
Texture: Without even touching the plants, texture is sensed through the way one sees light as it is reflected against leaves, or in the way a plant moves in the wind.Emphasize textures by placing soft against smooth, spiny next to rounded. For example, lacy, soft bloomers stand out best when placed with a backdrop of shiny, broad leafed plants.
Light and dark: Foliage characteristics are often overlooked in favor of preferences for bloom color and size. But, a plant’s leaves are what is usually visible,
before and after its bloom time.
Consider then a plant’s leaf color and whether it will “pop” even when not in bloom, or simply blend in with neighboring plants.
Height: It may seem obvious that lower plants should be placed in the front where they can be seen and not blocked by other, taller plants. However, when selecting a focal point—perhaps one that is narrow and upright or otherwise sculptural in form—a low surround of groundcover or subshrubs can help make it stand out.
Color: Every gardener wants to see more color in their landscape. Capitalize on your plants’ colors—flower or foliage—by pairing them with adjacent plants that are a natural offset to their color.
Referencing a color wheel can help; just remember to choose colors from opposite sides for maximum impact. Make yellows stand out by planting them with purple, or keep blue bloomers from becoming shrinking violets by partnering them with oranges or cream.
Happy Gardening 🙂