Going All Green: Creating a Foliage Garden

Yes, blossoms are beautiful, but flowerless gardens are an emerging trend. By mixing different varieties of ornamental grasses, leafy shrubs, trees and vines, you can create a lush paradise right in your backyard. The color green is known for its soothing effect, and listening to the wind blow through leafy plants and trees is also very calming. Bonus: flowerless gardens are practically maintenance-free, meaning you’ll have more time to actually enjoy your outdoor space! Here’s how to design a gorgeous foliage oasis.

Go natural and incorporate different shades

Green gardens can actually range from nearly white light green to yellowish-green to silver, gray, blue-green and beyond. Variegated trees like Japanese white pine and shrubs including ninebark or diabolo add subtle color and year-round interest to your space. Consider grouping similar plants like hostas or succulents. Many plants have foliage in different hues of green, purple, burgundy or orange – they provide a pop of color. Choose perennials like heuchera, which comes in a variety of shades, and annuals such as coleus – both tolerate conditions from full sun to shade, making them ideal for gardens with lots of trees. Or, plant an easy-care vine such as sweet potato, which also comes in several colors.

Try adding some texture

Mixing in plants with different leaf textures – think smooth, fuzzy, rough or waxy – will boost your garden’s overall beauty. Ornamental grasses such as feather reed grass, purple fountain grass and blue fescue provide lots of visual interest, as do furry plants like lamb’s ear and spiky varieties of yucca. Feathery ferns planted in clumps also provide an elegant addition to your yard, especially ones like Japanese painted ferns, which feature burgundy and silver foliage.

Surround yourself with different shapes

Leaves come in so many sizes and shapes – spiky, straight, rounded or scalloped. Some plants hug the ground with tiny curly foliage, while others grow sky-high with sword-like greenery. Include various plants that feature very different forms, such as ajuga, artemesia and elephant ear. This way, everywhere you rest your eyes, you’ll be treated to something lovely.

Add a trickle of water

Consider putting in a water feature, such as a pond or a container-based waterfall surrounded by rocks, which will add a focal point to your lush foliage garden. Incorporating another sense into your outdoor space will add dimension and give you even more pleasure to enjoy!

Tell us about your flowerless space, and share your photos with us!


Heuchera: Photo Credit: wallygrom Flickr via Compfight cc

Coleus: Photo Credit: Tim Green aka atoach Flickr via Compfight cc

Yucca: Photo Credit: James St. John Flickr via Compfight cc

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