Texture is an important principle of landscape design that can be manipulated to create a sense of contrast and visual interest in Cortlandt Manor, NY, homes' surrounds. In addition to the natural stone and concrete of hardscape areas, variations of texture can be created by incorporating the natural details of plants.
When it comes to plants, texture refers to the size, shape, smoothness or coarseness, and weight of the foliage or bark. Texture in this sense can create a sense of contrast used to present a focal point, or complement other elements in the landscape, particularly stone and wood used in the construction of patios and vertical elements. Plantings high in texture also serves to create depth and richness in the landscape.
Fine-textured plants are those with finely dissected foliage or small leaves. This includes many perennials and small shrubs. Other plants that create a finely textured look include delicate flowers, dissected fronds and grasses. Fine-textured plants add a light, airy feel to your landscape design. Thin leaves, tall stems, delicate foliage and wispy limbs all lend fine details to landscapes. Large groupings of these can be employed since the effects of individual plants may be very subtle. A striking contrast is created by when fine-textured plants are used as a background for larger or coarser textured plants. Examples of some fine-textured plants are:
- Thuja occidentalis (Pyramid Cedar)
- Salix babylonica (Weeping Willow)
- Dicentra formosa (Pacific Bleeding Heart)
- Perovskia (Russian Sage)
- Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)
Coarse-textured plants usually have large, dark, and sometimes dull foliage. Coarsely textured planting is visually powerful and draws the eye by creating dramatic areas of light and shadow. This effect is emphasized with the rough textures of bark, deeply serrated leaves, and splaying fronds. Integrating these with groupings of lighter, wispier plants is an effective tactic that balances out their strong influence. Examples of some coarse-textured plants include:
- Rodgersia sp.
- Rudbeckia sp. (Black-eyed Susans)
- Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’
Striking a Balance
The shade or tint of the leaf or bark’s color, as well as the leaf’s thickness, also describes texture. A general rule in textured landscape design is more plants with fine textures should be used in comparison to those with coarser textures. In following this general rule when selecting plants for your landscape design, this ensures an aesthetically attractive appearance.
Don’t be hung up on the details without considering that texture perception is dependent on how far away the observer is from the plants. To have a truly textured landscape design, it is important to consider how the principal of texture will be perceived from multiple vantage points.
Texture adds to the overall design and mood of the landscape. For example, large, coarse foliage creates a rustic, rugged feeling; on the other hand, finely cut leaves give a delicate, airy feeling to the landscape. Take a hint from the hard landscape materials used and select strong bold foliage to go together with rough stone walls and wooden fences.