One of the secrets of a great design in the garden is to create a successful contrast of the three elements of color, form and texture. While large groups of a single plant can become boring, adding a mixture of flowers and foliage plants can give extra interest. These ideas are explained in an article by Lauren Dunec Hoang which I found on the Houzz website.
While swaths of a single plant variety can be peaceful in the landscape, there?s far more interest in a garden bed with a bit of diversity. Think of the impact a single bold agave can have planted among soft grasses or how your eye is drawn to deep plum foliage in a sea of green leaves. If there?s a trick in choosing foliage to break up monotony, it?s proximity and contrast.The more you can get a plant to stand out from its neighbors, the more your eye will be drawn to and delighted by it. As you choose foliage plants for your garden bed, remember these basic elements of landscape design: color, form and texture. Let?s see how creating contrast among these elements can have a stunning effect.Color. When selecting foliage color, you practically have a rainbow of hues to choose from. For the most striking combinations in the bed, pair plants with contrasting foliage colors in close proximity. Blues and blue-greens have a cooling effect and can set off red, plum and magenta foliage placed close by. Silver, chartreuse and variegated foliage shimmer next to darker greens ? particularly useful in brightening shady areas.Form. Consider both the shape of the plant and the size and shape of its leaves. Beds made up of similarly sized plants with the same leaf shape can be fairly dull. For the most drama, mix plants with big, bold leaves with smaller-leaved perennials and ornamental grasses. In shade, look for plants with large palmate leaves, such as bear?s breech (Acanthus mollis), shown in this Seattle area garden with strappy, grasslike sweetflag (Acorus sp.).