Using Texture in Garden Design
Texture as a Visual Feature
Texture is something we feel with our fingers, right? Sure, but in a well designed garden, texture can be seen, too. Used to advantage, texture pops out at you, tantalizing the eye and rewarding the soul.
Variety and contrast can be thought of as texture's best friends. For example, if we were planting perennials and limited the bed to only daylilies, we might see a range of color at bloom time, but all the foliage would look the same. Add a few ornamental grasses and the scene remains boring.
Instead, pair the thin, grass-like daylily leaves with fat, heart-shaped Hosta foliage. Try a variety with a crinkly, seersucker leaf surface such as Hosta "Powder Blue." A third texture is introduced by something lacy, perhaps Coreopsis verticillata "Moonbeam" with its tiny needle-like leaves.
The eye perceives this variety and contrast of shapes, colors and sizes as interesting texture. Without touching, we can sense the softness, the bumpiness, the sharp edges and the mind is entertained and intrigued by the combination. Even when these plants aren't in bloom, texture continues to provide a pleasant experience.
Choosing perennials to group together must always depend on the cultural needs of the plants first, but with the thousands of choices available picking selections that provide texture can make a garden stand out.