The right plants, flowers and other greenery can make all the difference in achieving the feel you are seeking when you walk into your garden space. To create an exciting garden design, combine a range of plants with contrasting structures, textures, and forms. You can also produce a specific look, such as a contemporary or English style, simply by using specific plants or grouping them in a particular way.
Before planning a planting design, take time to compile a list of your favorite plants. Visit gardens and jot down the names of any that inspire you, and look through books, magazines, and plant catalogs for additional ideas. Make sure that the plants on your list will thrive in your garden, and then map out a simple plan.
Start by planning in trees and shrubs to add height and structure to your design. Then fill in around these plants with perennials and ground-cover plants, and include plenty of seasonal interest with a range that perform at different times of the year. Finally, inject drama with focal plants set in key positions within your design. Consider these plants to for a mix of beautifully blended shapes, colors, and textures in your garden:
• Structural plants: Woody plants, like trees and shrubs, can be used to create a structure, such as a hedge or flowering screen, a tree-lined walkway, or a mixed group to form a backdrop to a flower bed.
• Mid-range plants: Most perennials fall into this group, together with small shrubs. Use them between structural plants, or combine them with grasses to produce rippling seas of color and texture.
• Focal plants: Plants with bold colors and shapes catch the eye, directing the line of vision to a planting design, punctuating the end of a pathway, or sharpening the focus on a patio.
• Ground cover: Ground-hugging plants can be shrubs, grasses, or perennials. Smothering weeds with their leafy stems, they help fill difficult areas beneath trees and next to sun-baked patios.
• Seasonal plants: All the main plant groups include seasonal interest. Both trees and shrubs offer flowers and fall leaf color, while bulbs, annuals, and perennials provide seasonal bloom