Details Landscape Art is a Sonoma County gardener and design-build contractor. Why are we so successful? One of the reasons is the selection of plant material. And it’s not so much the individual plants we choose, but rather the plant combinations we put together. We like to mix heights, textures and bloom seasons, and include both evergreen and deciduous plants, but we also factor in color and contrast, both in the flowers and the foliage. It is not accidental that our gardens turn out the way they do – experience and careful selection when we are at the nursery ensures a vibrant and exciting palette of plant material.
Look at the variety of contrasting colors and textures in the photo above. Even the dark bark of the tree trunk in the foreground adds an element of contrast to the landscape.
Most flowering shrubs bloom for about a month or six weeks, which means they are out of bloom for ten or eleven months of the year! So the color and texture of the foliage is really important -especially when seen with other adjacent plants, or the texture of rocks or boulders or wood. The photo below shows a white painted arbor framed by soft Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ in the background, and a rich dark green lawn in the foreground.
Texture can take many forms. Even the branches of a gnarly Japanese maple in full fall foliage, followed by bare branches in winter can offer interesting texture. Flowers are also a form of texture and especially plants with long bloom seasons, like roses, can offer a texture contrast.
Some examples of plant and boulder combinations we like to use are as follows:
- Coleonema ‘Golden Sunset’ with Berberis ‘Roseglow’ – evergreen gold foliage with deciduous burgundy leafed barberry.
- Japanese maple ‘Viridis’ with unique boulder. Simple but effective.
- Red Dragon Japanese maple with white iceberg rose and tulbaghia violacaea ‘Silver Lace’ and a boulder
- Lomandra ‘Breeze’ with French lavender with Pennisetum orientale The dark green, the soft tan feather grass, and the purple flowers are a striking combination.
- Westringia rosmariniformus with Design-a line Cordyline – large evergreen grayish green shrub with spiky bright red in foreground
- Berberis ‘Rose Glow’ with Pittosporum ‘Golf Ball’
- Red Dragon Japanese maple with Butterfly Japanese maple with Pieris ‘Temple Bells’
Plant color groups (foliage):
- Burgundy/red: Berberis ‘Rose Glow’, Japanese Maple ‘Red Dragon’, ‘Crimson Queen’ and ‘Tamukeyama”, Design-a-line Cordyline, Purple smoke tree, Lorapetalum ‘Purple Majesty’
- Gray-green: Pineapple guava, Rosemary ‘Prostrata’, or ‘Lockwood de Forest’, or ‘Irene’, Westringia rosmariniformis, Lavender ‘Provence’ or ‘Hidcote’
- Gold: Coleonema, Euonymus, Sedum ‘Lemon Coral’
- Dark green: Lomandra ‘Breeze’, Euonymus microphylla, Sarcococca ruscifolia, Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’ and ‘Julia Phelps’
- Silver green: Tulbaghia ‘Silver Lace’, Pittosporum ‘Marjorie Channin’, Hydrangea ‘Tricolor’
- Orange/gold/red: Nandina ‘Compacta’ or ‘ Firepower’ or ‘Moon Bay’ or ‘Gulfstream’
So it’s more than just picking plants – picking plant combinations for dramatic effect is the key! Details Landscape Art, a Sonoma County gardener and design-build contractor delivers an exciting tapestry of plants, boulders and wood structures with color and contrast.