The difference between a garden bed that you walk by and one that stops you in your TRACKS is one that uses the following key design elements when planning the layout of the plant material.
T exture-Using plant material with different textures brings interest to your planting plan. By contrasting various textures within the garden you enhance the visual qualities of each. One of my favorite plants to bring a fine texture to a bed is Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass.
R epetition-By repeating texture, shape or colour within a bed you bring visual harmony to the plant plan. A simple way to achieve this is to choose a tree, shrub or perennial with distinct features and repeat it in 3 different locations within the bed.
A rrangement-When positioning the plant material within the design you will want to arrange them in a way that the various sizes, shapes and colours work together. Just as you would create a floral arrangement layering in flowers with different heights, colour and shapes, you also need to thoughtfully place the various plants in your bed to create a stunning arrangement.
C olour-Colour of your plant material injects drama and interest into your landscape . When thinking of colour you will immediately think of the flower but that is not the only place you can find colour to integrate. Foliage should not be overlooked there are impressive perennials and shrubs with spectacular foliage colour to consider. A few of my favorites include Sedums, Coral Bells, Barberrys and Ninebarks which add drama from spring to fall.
K ey Focal Points – A well designed plant plan often has a key focal point within the bed. This can be a tree, shrub, grass or perennial with a shape or colour with added emphasis. You can also use garden features such as bird baths, sculpture or boulders to create a focal point or punctuation within a bed.
S easonal Interest-Evergreens are an easy way to ensure you have continuous interest throughout all 4 seasons. Often shrubs have qualities that offer 4 season interest with spring flowers, fall colour and branches with berries that peak through the snow. There are perennials such as Yarrow, Siberian Iris and Coneflower with seed heads that look great if left standing in your beds for the winter months. To help introduce colour in the early spring consider planting Tulip and Daffodil bulbs in clusters throughout.
Following the tips above will help to transform your beds into show stoppers that will stop those passing by in their TRACKS. Having a landscape design completed wiht a plant plan ensures all the above have been considered.