Garden Design- The Use of Contrasting Foliage

by Rees Cowden on April 1, 2008 · 4 comments

in All Posts,Flowers & Trees,Plan & Design

Contrasting Foliage

(Garden photographers please read to end)

When you’re trying to decide what plants to use in your new landscape there are so many considerations to keep in mind. Soil conditions, sunlight exposure and eventual plant size are some easy factors to find solutions for. Your local garden center is one good source to help you through those decisions. I call those decisions functional as opposed to aesthetic decisions.

One important aesthetic factor I always consider is the visual effect of contrasting foliage patterns. Using contrast in the garden can totally change the look of a garden from boring to exciting. By contrasting, I mean the interest that is created by mixing bold and fine textured plants. Bold being plants those with large leaves and by fine texture I mean soft, small, or feathery foliage. The contrast between the two forms makes the plants really pop-out. I have seen so many gardens where there is little contrast and, to my eye, they could be improved greatly with the addition of a few bold leaved plants. It’s easier for me to show you what I mean rather than try to explain.

All you Garden Bloggers/ Photographers out there I need your help. If you have photos depicting contrasting leaf patterns please give me a link or send me a photo to add to this post. Thanks

Rees Cowden

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Bond April 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm

I’ll see what I can find in the archives, though most of them would be on transparencies.

Elle Casey April 5, 2008 at 1:34 am

I see what you mean! I’ve noticed this same thing in interior design. Rooms I love have this same concept going, differing textures mixed with large patterns and small, busier patterns. I feel like your article has brought on one of those Eureka moments for me…I never realized “exterior design” was so similar to “interior design”!

meems April 13, 2008 at 1:11 am

Rees, just saw this post… I have some photos I could send to you if this is still something you’d like. I’m out of town for the weekend but let me know and I’ll rustle up some from my garden (my computer) when I get home next week.
Meems @Hoe&Shovel

ok September 25, 2008 at 6:42 am

good site rjbyma

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