Revamping landscape design with plants for color and texture

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Aug 17, 2023
Photo: Courtesy of Proven Winners – Courtesy of Proven Winners –

While your customers may have once craved garden beds that contained one plant type in their landscapes, it’s possible that they now long for a little something extra to break up the monotony.

True, it can be very peaceful to have a sea of similar foliage surrounding you as you sit in your garden. But when you add in just a smidge of diversity, it can really make the space pop.

When a plant is allowed the opportunity to stand out from other neighboring plants, it’s able to draw the eye and capture attention, which only adds more appeal to an area.

If your customers are requesting a little more contrast in their landscape, take a look at a few ideas you can implement to help add a bit of color and variation without having to take on a major redo project.


Colors, forms and textures 

When choosing foliage that will add a contrasting color, the possible options are expansive. If your customers desire a very explosive look, consider pairing plants with contrasting foliage colors in close proximity.

If there are red and purple plants around, adding in green and blue colors will add a cooling effect to the area, while not taking away the vibrant coloring of the existing plants. To bring a bit of brightness to a shady area with black, deep burgundy or darker green foliage present, consider adding in variegated or silver-toned plants.

Noting the form of plants in the area will also play into what combination should be added in. Take a look at the shape of the plant and the size and shape of its leaves, as garden beds that are made up of plants of similar size and leaf shape can come across as lackluster after a while.

If you want to add in some spark, try pairing big, bold leaves with ornamental grasses and perennials with smaller leaves. The greater the contrast, the more dramatic the display will look, which comes in handy when your customers are trying to spice up their landscape’s look or impress visitors. While adding in either light or dark foliage can help break up a one-colored garden bed’s monotony, it’s also true that beds that have both colors will really amp up the aesthetic and keep it looking interesting longer.

Along with color and form comes the importance of noting the texture of the plants you’ll be adding in and how they will feel when customers touch them.

Pairing plants together that have varying textures will make them each stand out while coming together seamlessly in a unique design. Some leaves will be glossy and smooth, which will help reflect light in the garden, and others will be soft like velvet and will invite visitors to stop and touch them.

If your customers, for instance, have a dry streambed in their landscape, consider adding in bold-leaved plants and delicate ornamental grasses to mimic the look of an actual streamside. As the plants begin to mature, fill in, and grow, the contrast between the fine and coarse textures will become even more prevalent.

It’s also good to keep in mind that if your customers don’t necessarily want to branch out with having multiple colors in their garden beds, you can still achieve a unique look by keeping the plants all one color but varying their size, shape, and textures. Consider pairing glossy, large leaves that shade some smaller, softer plants lining a walkway to keep the one-color theme but still shake it up a little.

Regardless of whether your customers want to have a hardy mix of varying colors, forms, and textures or they would prefer to stick with only one element throughout the yard, there’s no wrong way to go about breaking up the monotony in landscape design. Encourage them to get creative and step outside their comfort zone to truly get the full experience of what these other options have to offer.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover