Garden Design: Contrast

red dogwood stems

A dark coloured shrub like juniper behind a brightly coloured red-twigged Dogwood has a great effect. The same Dogwood planted in front of a red brick wall would be lost.

Having a garden go from blah to beautiful doesn’t depend entirely on the plants you choose, but the placement of those plants. Keep in mind that the plant material you use—trees, perennials and shrubs—are always seen in relation to one another, they never stand alone.

Spending some time thinking about how to pair plants together will give your garden impact and visual interest. Juxtaposition of plants with different colours and values (lights and darks) creates visual drama. It’s one of the design basics: Contrast. Contrast in your garden shows your specimen plants at their best and makes it zing!

Design Lesson: Always be thinking of the backdrop.

This light and feathery grass shows up beautifully in front of this dark evergreen.

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