Using Texture in the Landscape


Do you ever look at the shrubs around your house and feel bored?  Do you feel like everything looks the same?  The same green color.  The same leaf shape?  No different, exciting textures or colors to look at.  Well, if that is you, let me offer you a few suggestions on how to spice things up around your home. First off, the easy one: color.  If you feel bored by the sea of green shrubs that are growing in your flower beds, consider replacing some of that green with some purple, yellow, or light green color.  For that deep purple color, plant loropetalums.  There are several varieties of loropetalums depending on the space that you are trying to fill.  ‘Plum’ is a full size variety that can be a small tree, or hedged as a large shrub.  ‘Jazz Hands’ is a semi-dwarf variety.  And ‘Purple Pixie’ is a cascading variety that does well in containers.  For some yellow color, plant ‘Cuban Gold’ duranta for a tropical look, and ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum for a hardier, evergreen look.  For a unique contrast of color, consider planting variegated ginger, variegated liriope, aztec grass, variegated society garlic or flax lily.  All of these plants are what we call variegated, meaning that the leaves have two different colors within one leaf, white and green, or yellow and green.  Not only will those plants offer a differing leaf color, but a different leaf texture.  If you have a very small space, and wish to only invest a little time and money, consider adding some annuals or perennials that will give color from the blooms or leaves.  Some interesting varieties to choose for their unique leaf color would be, variegated lantana, variegated duranta, tri-color sweet potato vine or ‘Little Ruby’ joseph’s coat, just to name a few.  For the flower, consider planting coneflowers, crossandra, purslane or pentas. In addition to contrasting color, I recommend using contrasting leaf texture.  Planting ornamental grasses such as purple fountain grass, muhly grass, lemon grass, millet or juncus can bring a light, flowing and airy feeling to any bed that may be weighed down by a mass planting of only one variety of shrub.  In addition to the grassy texture, you can introduce a big leaf texture by planting philodendrons, fatsia, cast iron plant or gingers.   The possibilities and combinations are endless.  Don’t be afraid to make a change, if you are tired of looking at the same old landscape every day.  And when you go to make those changes, take pictures of your neighbor’s landscape, or the landscape of a local business that you like that uses color and varying leaf texture and leaf size to create a unique, beautiful garden.  Get creative!  Happy Planting!