Texture creates striking gardens. Having a planting design that involves a combination of different types of foliage in varying sizes and forms produces the illusion of movement, and adds dimension and interest.
The term texture is often associated with the thickness of the leaves. Plant texture, in this sense, can run the gamut from fine to broad. For example, Queen Anne’s lace is a finely textured plant which is easily identified by its delicate and wispy leaves.
At the other end of the spectrum are hostas. Plants such as the hostas, feature broad leaves that scream for your attention. In between these two are medium-textured plants, which include everything else that does not fall under these two extremes.
But contrary to popular belief, there is more to texture than leaf thickness. An expert in providing landscaping in Chesterfield, Missouri, explains that the addition of light, shadow, and playing with distance can also affect the appearance of texture.
Take feathery foliage, for instance. Up close, feathery foliage looks delicate and airy. When viewed from afar, however, the plants will look like a blur as the delicate leaves appear to merge together.
Are you interested in adding texture to your garden? Let our specialists in landscaping in St. Charles, Missouri, share a few tips on how to add texture and dimension to your outdoor space.
1. Consider the leaf color and pattern
It’s not just the size and shape of the leaves that matter. Leaf color and patterns can also have an effect on the look of your garden. For instance, a hosta plant that features variegated leaves looks more delicate as compared to those with no striping. Foliage with brighter foliage also produces the same effect.
2. Add flowering plants
Not all people do similar work on their gardens throughout the year. Some love staying out during the summer months, while others not so much. If this is you, then consider planting more flowering plants.
Flowers can add texture to your garden, but much like leaves, the size can also affect their texture. For instance, roses have larger blooms compared to lavender. Planting roses generates a bolder visual effect as compared to lavender and other similar fine-textured blooms.
3. Odd vs. even numbers
Even numbers of plants create symmetry. On the other hand, having odd numbers of plants adds interest.
Most people mentally associate symmetry with being man-made. As such, professional landscapers and gardeners typically prefer placing plants in groups of three or five to make the groupings appear more natural.
An exception to this rule is if you are creating a garden maze. Symmetry can also be used to place focus on a piece of artwork, such as a sculpture, or a similar component outdoors.
4. Create balance
Each garden is unique. The choice of plants, combined with their numbers and arrangement in the yard, can give your landscaping a distinct personality. It is up to the homeowner to decide what plants to grow and how to arrange them, but not having a plan can make the garden look unappealing and messy.
When choosing plants, it is essential to achieve some balance. Too much of one extreme can be overwhelming to the senses. For instance, too many bold elements can make the garden look hard, while an overabundance of finely textured plants can make your yard seem like a blur.
Some people use a ratio of 1/3 of fine-textured flora with coarse and bold plants taking up the remaining 2/3. With this ratio, you can create an environment where each plant becomes part of the bigger picture. By using this formula, no single plant becomes the focus or takes the limelight.
If you have access to coreopsis, for example, you can use the plants as your fine-textured foliage. The delicate plants can then be combined with bold-leaved ligularia or perennials, such as the euphorbia.
5. Add depth and contrast
Contrast is the name of the game when it comes to creating a textured garden. Do not be afraid to mix plants of different varieties such as a plant with narrow leaves with broad, variegated types. You may also find other combinations that make people take a second look.
When adding depth, keep in mind that the size of the leaves can affect their perceived distances. For instance, bold-colored plants with broad leaves give the appearance of being close. In contrast, delicate fluffy leaves appear far away and seem to blend in with the background.
To create the illusion of space, you can place bolder or coarse-textured plants in the foreground. As fluffy leaves look fuzzier the farther they are, it is recommended that they are placed behind the coarser plants.
6. Engage the senses
The best gardens have ways of engaging the sense of sight, touch, and smell. Out of the three, it is the sense of sight that is engaged first when stepping into a garden. Playing with texture allows you to create a visually-satisfying space.
To engage your nasal palate, you can take advantage of aromatic flowers and herbs. In the same way that perfumes contain a series of different notes, the use of a wide range of foliage can produce aromas that can bring you and your guests to a whole new level.
Lastly comes the sense of touch. People naturally want to touch and feel plants that look pleasing to the eye. Including a combination of delicate, soft, and fluffy plants can encourage you and your guests to go around and touch the foliage.
7. Integrate hardscapes
Hardscapes such as statues, art, rocks, brick pathways, even benches can add texture and visual interest, as well. If plants work as a backdrop, think of hardscapes as the focus of your masterpiece. As the focal point of your garden, you need to be extra careful about where you place these elements and how many you use.
Why? Unlike in the case of trees, shrubs, or other softscapes, hardscapes cannot be placed in large groups without appearing visually overwhelming. Too many hard components, such as benches or sculptures, can make your garden seem smaller than it actually is.
With the variety of foliage available on the market, you can become an artist with your garden as your living masterpiece. Experiment with a few of these tips to see what works and create a garden that you will enjoy seeing and working on for years to come.