We are Details Landscape Art, a Petaluma design-build contractor, with twenty-eight years of projects throughout the North Bay.In many of our blogs we talk about color- color in the foliage, color in the flowers, color in autumn, and the importance of contrast. The most basic of all colors, and Mother Nature’s natural color, is green. And the various shades of green leaves, along with the deep reds and golds, offer the interest that makes our gardens exciting.

simple garden design

One of our specialties is choosing plants with an eye toward mixing heights, textures, bloom seasons, and providing just the right mix of color and soft backgrounds. Since most of the plants we use will have green foliage, it is important that we distinguish the various shades of green, and their relative color value with other colors and textures in the garden.

Although there are dozens upon dozens of different shades of green, for simplicity we will categorize the greens into four shades: bright green, gray green, silver green and dark green. Following is an incomplete list of plants we regularly use in each category. Keep in mind, there are literally hundreds of plants available to this Petaluma design-build contractor, including trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers, but these are our favorites:

Bright green:

-Euonymus microphylla – probably the brightest green of all, with small white flowers

-Euonymus ‘Green Spires’ a taller, narrow upright shrub

-Lomandra ‘Breeze’ – smaller 3’ x 3’ evergreen grass that ads a fresh bright grassy texture to the garden…one of our favorites.

-Trachelospermum – star jasmine is great spreading groundcover or vines that thrives in sun or shade

-Choisya ternata – Mexican mock orange is a large shade loving evergreen shrub with very fragrant spring blooms

-Acer palmatum – Viridis – low growing mounding Japanese maple

Gray green:

-Westringia rosmariniformis – large 7’ x 7’ shrub with soft gray green evergreen foliage and an abundance of small white flowers all year long

-Lavendula provence – like all the lavenders, the grey green contrasts well with the purple flowers. A high maintenance plant that requires deadheading a few times each year.

Mediterranean style garden featuring nFrench lavender

-Rosmarinus – all forms of rosemary are tough, hardy, evergreen and offer various shades of blue flowers

A stone retaining wall with draping plants

Silver green: (This category includes variegated foliage)

-Tulbaghia ‘Silver Lace’ – Society garlic with variegated leaves is a small evergreen perennial with purple flowers

– Hydrangea macrophylla variegate – morning sun, afternoon shade

-Hostas – the variegated hostas are deciduous perennial that brighten a deep shade garden

-Stachys byzantine ‘Silver Carpet’- ‘Lamb’s ear is evergreen in milder climates

Dark green:

-Ceanothus – various varieties of California Wild Lilac have dark green glossy leaves with different shades of blue flowers

-Sarcococca ruscifolia – our favorite deep shade plant, with glossy dark green leaves. Extremely fragrant white flowers in late winter followed by red berries

-Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’ – Manzanita is a useful low growing evergreen groundcover

Gorgeous backyard landscaping

-Azaleas – morning sun, afternoon shade, there are dozens of varieties and flower colors

Ophiopogon japonica – Mondo grass is a low clumping evergreen plant that spreads and becomes a ground cover in the shade.

Contrast the gray green and the silver greens and variegated foliage with deep reds and purple foliage. Contrast the brighter and darker greens with the lighter greens and white roses. Your garden will be vibrant, interesting and exciting ! As a Petaluma design-build contractor, we are sure to use many shades of green in our gardens.