Types of Texture
Textures appeal to multiple sensory experiences at once. You can often tell what something is going to feel like just by looking at it, but there may be more surprises in store as you explore. Certain forms and surfaces invite touch the visual and physical effect is heightened when there is great textural contrast.
This pool garden - with its reflective water and complementary pebble pathway - shows how different textures can create satisfying patterns, even when a muted color palette is used.
Rough With Smooth
For rough textures choose stone chippings, dry stone walls, woven screens, peeling tree bark or prickly plants. Choose flat or rounded surfaces like concrete cubes and spheres, plain pots, smooth bark and well-worn cobblestones or river rocks.
Two sets of contrast bring dramatic effect to this walled courtyard: gravel and rough-cut stone are paired with smooth spheres, and the dry stone water feature bisects the colorful wall.
Gloss With Matte
Shiny, mirrored surfaces include many evergreens, polished granite, stainless steel, chrome, still water and glazed ceramic. Ideal for combining with glossy elements, matte surfaces include cut timber, galvanized metal planters and sandstone.
Here, shiny glass and metal doors echo the visual qualities of the swimming pool. These elements are separated by the smooth paved terrace and matte wall.
Soft With Hard
Soft, felted-leaved plants are irresistible to the touch, as are fluffy seedheads and grass-like stems. Non-pliable solid surfaces can be matte or gloss: cast metal, stone and concrete walling, flint, granite pavers and terrazzo pots.
This wooden walkway, circular terrace and snaking wall are perfectly opposed by luxurious plantings of hostas, irises, grasses and marginals.