Designing a Garden With Foliage

A beautifully designed bed can highlight an area of the garden even when nothing is in bloom.

Textured Shade Garden

Shades of Green

Plants like azaleas and daylilies have their seasons to flower but also play a part in the design when foliage is the main star. In this serene garden, a fern on a pedestal is the finishing touch in a planting bed that features tonal, textural and height changes, in addition to the structural quality of the tree trunks. Posted by RMSer mimisharpe

Caladium Combined with Other Foliage

Take Advantage of Variegated Leaves

With its many colorful leaf patterns, caladiums can be depended on to brighten dark areas of a shade garden. Photo by Susan Morgan

Ground Cover Hostas

Variations on a Theme

Hostas do produce blooms in midsummer, but their best asset is foliage — played well in this garden.

Albo-Marginata Hosta and Ferns

Same Color, Different Shape

Repeating a color but changing the leaf style is another good way to make transitions in a garden bed. Here, 'Albo Marginata' hosta goes beautifully with a fern.

Striking Succulent Sedum

Colorful Succulents

A composition of various sedums creates the foundation of an eye-catching, multi-seasonal bed.

Subtle Chameleon Spurge and Castor Oil Plant

Repetition Above and Below

The starlike reddish-purple leaves of 'Chameleon' spurge provide an understory reflection of the castor bean (left). Posted by RMSer lark

Go Big, Bold and Tropical

Every garden can use a warm-climate plant to add a lush, tropical feel — even if only for a summer. Here, the tapioca plant (Manihot esculenta, hardy to USDA 9) provides variegated foliage on red stems.

Garden Foliage Pot

Add Supporting Players

A weathered copper pot adds interest to this bed. Posted by RMS user On-the-east-twin

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