In May 2014, we shared some great examples of How to Pair Perfect Plant Color Combos. Now, let’s talk about an often-overlooked element of landscape design — texture.
Just as plant color, size and shape are important elements to consider when planning a landscape design, texture is a crucial element to keep in mind.
Plant Texture — Fine, Wispy and Bold
For most plants, there are a few basic categories of foliage texture that I talk about with Carex Design Group clients — fine, wispy and bold.
Plants such as Boxwood, Abelia (pictured below), Cryptomeria Trees and others with small leaves create a fine texture. These plants and others like them are a great choice when they are used as a backdrop to a planting area.
Plants such as Dwarf Hameln Grass, Prairie Fire Carex (pictured below) and Russian Sage showcase a lighter, wispy texture that is a must-have when creating informal spaces. If your outdoor space has a lot of hard edges, sharp corners, sidewalks or concrete, plants with a wispy texture will help soften the space.
Plants such as Big Leaf Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea (pictured below) and Ninebark are great examples of bold texture. These plants all have large leaves and a coarseness that creates shadows within the plant providing a lot of visual interest.
Tree Bark Texture — Smooth and Exfoliating
Combining different plant foliage textures isn’t the only way to add interest to your landscaping. Tree bark is also a great way to add texture variety.
Just as plants’ foliage texture can range from fine to bold, tree bark texture varies greatly too. On one end of the spectrum, you have smooth-barked trees such as Elm, Beech or Cherry. On the other end, you have shaggy or exfoliating trees such as Crepe Myrtle, River Birch (pictured below), Paper Bark Maple or Pine.
When incorporating trees with exfoliating bark into a landscape design, I always avoid planting these trees in areas that are near water features, pools and drainage ways as they tend to drop a lot of debris, and can wreak havoc by clogging drains. These types of trees are great in spaces that will get a lot of attention in the fall and winter months since they really shine when foliage has fallen for the season.
Need some suggestions for great combinations? Try planting a row of river birch in front of a row of Cryptomeria, or plant a grouping of Hydrangeas under the canopy of a Cherry Tree. For more ideas, fill out our online form to contact us for a free consultation or call 865-765-5550.