Design Goals in the Garden for 2017

RHS Wisley 2016

RHS Wisley 2016

After looking over my photos of gardens that I visited in 2016 as well as my own, I am feeling the need to review some design choices I have made in the last few years. When you’re inside on a 25-degree day in Seattle, sunny though it may be, there’s no better time to start thinking ahead. The garden show season, garden tours and nursery hopping will be upon all of us hort-nerds soon enough and I want to have at least a minor plan of attack.

Maybe you need more bold colors of foliage in your spring and summer garden like the energetic heuchera above that provides a wonderful color echo to the elegant Japanese maple in the background.

Color echo with Hydrangea and Japanese maple

Or for the late summer and early fall, maybe you need to consider the color echo that this incredible hydrangea and maple duo bring in deep plum tones!

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

OR if you are a flower person in your heart of hearts but you are here with Team Fine Foliage because you need a leafy nudge to balance your impulses, then maybe adding more repetition is in order. The floriferous notes in any garden stand out better when you pick one color and texture in a foliage plant and use it to its fullest with repetition. This could just as easily have been boxwood and have a very traditional look, but the use of the silver foliage of this Senecio is much more interesting!

Paperbark maple

Paperbark maple

Maybe you are craving more interesting details in your landscape such as fascinating bark, berries, rock or art. Well, Team Fine Foliage certainly will have you covered there for 2017 when “Gardening with Foliage First” becomes available SOON!!! 

A sumptuous feast of fall color here!

A sumptuous feast of fall color here!

Our tendency as trapped winter garden designers is to load up the landscape with all things spring when we’re first let out of the house and released into the wilds of the garden center. But, it’s so important to make sure that you’re also thinking about the important and colorful transformation of color that happens in late summer and early fall. So, keep that in mind when you’re planning!

Foliage BONANZA! :-)

Foliage BONANZA! 🙂

Here is a snippet from one of my favorite little sections in my own garden that I am considering revamping a tad this year. I welcome your thoughts about what you might do. It’s jammed packed I know, but that my style and that likely won’t change, but other than that, bring it on. Give me some ideas designers! 

Let us know what YOUR leafy goals are for your landscape in 2017. Post a comment, we would love to hear from all of you in this upcoming and exciting year of the “Foliage First” garden! 


10 thoughts on “Design Goals in the Garden for 2017

  1. Katie McFarland-Roth

    I think some pops of fire engine red would look great in your personal garden picture at the bottom.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. personalgardencoach Post author

      Good ideas! I have used coleus there quite a bit in summers past. It never fails to be amazing and so easy. I may do that again. I DO have some variegated pieris on both ends of this bed that you can’t see. Thanks for the ideas Patricia!

  2. tim

    I think all the yellows have too similar foliage and lose definition and the light yellow doesnt fit with the other light colours of the miscanthus and melianthus.
    If it was me i would build around the miscanthus; get rid of all the yellow foliage plants and the similar textured brown carex, add more pink/dark colours to go with the white morning light miscanthus, perhaps more of the chocolate eupatorium or riesenschrim behind it.
    you could also replant the yellow plants in a block near this group and link them together with a purple like salvia amistad or agastache blackadder running between and slightly in to each group.

  3. Cathi Lamoreux

    I think you need some grey/silver in there. And, some definition. It seems too much the same. I like the miscanthus and would even like to see another one. I love chartreuse in the garden, but the plants look more yellow than green to me.

  4. Linda Lehmusvirta

    Wonderful, inspiring designs! Me on foliage ideas this year: textural combinations for shade and drought. I love Billbergia for burgundy structural contrast, and so far, mine have made it through unusually harsh cold. Will add more. Silvers, natch, though many drown when we get our flash floods, though silver germander handles it well. It’s so interesting how my ideas have changed over the years–regarding structure and texture more than flowers, though in my Certified Backyard Habitat, I have lots of those too for pollinators and seeds for birds.

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