How to use foliage plants to make a diverse, low-maintenance and visually interesting garden display
When you hear the term ‘foliage plants’, many tend to think of house plants used to decorate your home. However, the term extends to the garden as well.
Foliage plants may be used as an artistic device to create a fascinating mixture of color, height and texture that makes a stroll in the garden a true delight.
When you use foliage plants to add visual interest, you’ll also realize the benefit of reduced maintenance.
Instead of a huge expanse of lovely, well-manicured lawn, punctuated by a tree or shrub here and there – which can become quite a chore to maintain, with all that mowing – a garden consisting of a number of foliage plants, used as ground covers, spots of color and drifts of plants in various heights, with leaves ranging from variegated, plump leaves to tall, wispy grasses and robustly bushy flowering shrubs, you can see that you can have quite a welcome retreat within the space of the averaged-size home lot.
Scotch broom provides a sturdy, low-maintenance barrier in place of a less elegant looking fence. These foliage plants have the bonus of giving you a lovely shot of bright yellow flowers during the spring months, with smoothly textured leaves.
Many plants with variegated leaves are well suited to shady areas of the garden, bringing a splash of color to those darker areas. Some examples include coleus, begonias, cyclamen and hosta.
The texture of the leaves of garden plants is an important element in achieving the diversity that makes for an interesting garden.
A stand of day lilies, with their graceful, strappy leaves contrasts nicely with a border of St. John’s Wort, a ground cover with its matte, rounded leaves which requires little maintenance and beautiful yellow flowers in the spring season.
The rustle of the leaves of ornamental grasses provides a soothing, peaceful sound and feel, as well as several distinct colorations, ranging from a straw-like beige to deep rusts and combinations of striking colors.
Ground covers such as creeping thyme and Irish Moss are great additions between paving stones or bordering pathways. Ask your nursery staff for recommendations on ground covers suited to your growing zone.
There are a number of ground covers which support foot traffic and are terrifically low-maintenance. Ground covers have the added advantage of suppressing the growth of weeds and serving as mulches to retain valuable water.
One easy and fun way to begin a search for foliage plants for your garden is to conduct a Google image search. There are literally millions of photos of foliage plants! Surely you’ll find a few dozen which might find a home in your garden!