What Are Examples of Using Texture in Garden Design to Create Depth?


    What Are Examples of Using Texture in Garden Design to Create Depth?

    Delving into the art of garden design, we sought the expertise of arborists and landscape architects to share their secrets on using texture to enhance outdoor spaces. From incorporating contrasting plant textures to integrating ornamental grasses for depth, discover the three distinct ways these professionals infuse depth and interest in gardens.

    • Incorporate Contrasting Plant Textures
    • Combine Textural Foliage and Surfaces
    • Select Plants for Shade and Light
    • Integrate Ornamental Grasses for Depth

    Incorporate Contrasting Plant Textures

    In a recent garden redesign, I utilized the principle of texture to create depth and interest by incorporating a variety of grasses alongside smoother-leaved plants. One standout choice was the addition of Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'—a tall, feathery ornamental grass that contrasts sharply with the broad, glossy leaves of nearby hostas. This juxtaposition of textures brought dynamic visual interest to the garden, drawing the eye across the landscape and creating a sense of movement. The Miscanthus, with its light-reflecting silver edges, added a soft, ethereal quality to the space, especially when backlit by the morning or late afternoon sun. This strategic use of texture not only enhanced the garden's aesthetic appeal but also contributed to a layered, immersive experience, demonstrating how varied plant textures can elevate the overall design.

    Dylan Heath
    Dylan HeathArborist, Apex Arborists

    Combine Textural Foliage and Surfaces

    While the careful arrangement of forms and structures is probably the most critical aspect of a landscape design, it takes a well-planned textural palette of foliage, seasonal color, hard and soft surfaces to cohesively tie the design together. Textural foliage and flower contrast can be used for strong visual effect, or to provide tranquility and intimacy of scale.

    Natalie SheffieldLandscape Architect, CAF Consulting, Australia

    Select Plants for Shade and Light

    So many client and site variables determine how texture is attributed back into the landscape. Most of our landscapes take shape in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Harsh winters and hot summers have raised concern in the minds of many, and therefore, the allowable plant palette and 'texture choices' continue to shrink. For 'shady gardens,' I've used spider's web aralia, gold dust aucuba, dwarf palmetto, lemon lime nandina, daruma loropetalum, and cast iron plant. These plants thrive in the shade and present a foundation/backdrop of interest for shorter, and sometimes more colorful, plants to be showcased in the forecourt. When you are designing in the shade/dark areas, I've always looked for ways to bring light to the dark. Lime greens, yellows, and even white variegated plants can add a lot of depth and interest to an otherwise dark green landscape. Everillo carex grass, feather falls carex, southern wood fern, variegated flax lily, and silver dragon liriope are some of the intermediate, brighter plants I've had success with.

    Sam HimmelhaverSenior Landscape Designer, SPSD

    Integrate Ornamental Grasses for Depth

    I'm Mike Drouin, deeply passionate about gardening and landscaping, with years of experience under my belt. One specific example where I used texture in garden design to create depth and interest is in a recent project where I integrated a variety of ornamental grasses among smoother, leafy plants. The contrast between the wispy, airy texture of the grasses and the solid, lush foliage of the surrounding plants added a dynamic visual element. This approach not only highlighted each plant's unique characteristics but also created a layered, multidimensional effect in the garden space. It's a testament to how playing with different textures in the garden can evoke a sense of depth and intrigue, making the garden more engaging to the observer.

    Mike Drouin
    Mike DrouinCo-founder, Digital Marketing Director, Gardening & Home Improvement expert- Reefertilizer, Reefertilizer