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What Does Texture Look Like?
When texture is layered correctly, it makes you want to run your hands over the tapestry to feel the different layers. Don't you want to reach out and touch that beautiful bed of blues and purples?
The combination of hostas, ferns and grasses in this photo provides layers of texture that create visual interest, even though there are no blooms.
Combine Contrasting Plants
Start out with one wide-leaf plant and one small-leaf plant and see how they look together. Spend an hour or so in your local nursery combining various plants and see what looks complementary.
The big, bold and shiny leaves of hostas make them a perfect candidate for beginners. They combine well with many other plants but look compelling next to smaller-leaf plants with sharp tips.
Combining a plant with blooming spikes with another plant with foliage spikes creates an interesting play on form and texture. When the two plants are out of bloom, the textures are divergent. But when they're both in bloom, the similar forms are differentiated by the vibrant purple colors.
This is what makes gardening such an intense form of design. It is ever changing — plants morph from one season to the next, and it's a constant battle to simply keep them alive. Can you imagine if your area rugs needed a certain amount of water and food to keep up appearances?
Prune for Texture
Formal gardens rely on structure to provide interesting design, but texture is important too. Notice how the smooth, shorn hedges contrast with the blooming bushes and trees. Imagine the difference between the two if you were to run your hand over them. One would feel light and free, the other straight and solid.
In a more modern setting, shorn evergreens and flowering trees achieve the same effect.
Stick With One Undertone
When combining textures, it is best to start out with plants that have the same undertones. Combining blue and yellow undertones is tricky business, so stick with one or the other. This combination offers textural differences with a yellow undertone.
If you want to go for blues, brunnera (center), blue hostas and blue fescue are good choices.