What is the Texture of your Garden Plants?
Selection of right ornamental plants is essential in landscape gardening. Gardeners often focus on selecting plants with colorful flowers, size, shape and pattern of foliage but tend to overlook the ‘Texture’ of a plant or any other garden feature.
The texture in landscape designing:
The texture – surface character of the garden unit is important and often the most ignored element of landscape design. Usually, the texture of a landscape is its visual aspect. The texture of the ground, the leaves of a tree or shrub will determine the overall effect of the garden. Strong textural contrasts add drama and interest to a garden.
The texture in a garden creates sensual and visual excitement. It is generally read as the mass and void of foliage, bark or flowers and changes with lights during the day and with the seasons.
Up close, the size and shape of the leaves and twigs become the predominant textural elements of a plant. From a distance, it is the quality of light and shadow on the entire form, the pattern of light and dark that translates as texture.
The texture in garden plants:
There are two main type textures, coarse texture and fine texture. Everything else falls on the spectrum between coarse and fine which is referred as medium texture. Ornamental plants can have a range of intermediate textures from coarse to medium to fine.
Coarse textured plants:
Rough, coarse textures tend to create informal mood and are visually dominant. Plant characteristics that create coarse texture include large leaves; leaves with very irregular edges; bold, deep veins; variegated colors; thick twigs and branches; leaves and twigs with spines or thorns; and bold, thick, and/or irregular forms.
Fine textured plants:
Fine, smooth textures are associated with formal, elegant, subdued moods and are visually more passive. Characteristics that create fine texture includes small foliage; thin, strappy leaves (grasses) or tall, thin stems; tiny, dense twigs and small branches; long stems (vines); and small, delicate flowers.
Medium textured plants:
Most plants are medium textured, in that they cannot be described as having either coarse or fine texture. They are characterised by medium-sized leaves with simple shapes and smooth edges.
How to use texture in garden design?
- To make a small space feel large, locate plants so that the beautiful textures are along the outer perimeter, the medium textures are in the middle, and the coarse textures are closest to the viewer. Fine texture plants are visually translated as being farther away, so predominance of fine textured plants makes a garden space appear larger.
- To make a large space feel small, place the coarse textures along the outer perimeter and beautiful textures close to the viewer. The predominance of coarse textured plants makes a garden space appear small.
Read about Top 10 Tips for Landscape Design.