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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