Tag Archives: Bloedel Reserve

Formal Foliage

Formal Foliage

The reflecting pool at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Team Fine Foliage has shown you countless ways to use foliage in design combination and as spring begins to arrive in earnest there will be MANY future posts to show those ideas as well. But for this week, let’s take a quick peek at using foliage in more formal settings.

Clipped or sheared hedges, repetitive use of one plant, precise use of one plant as a focal point, using formality to highlight a focal point, there are SO many ways to use foliage plants in a formal setting from classical to modern.

Formal Foliage

Longwood’s fountain garden are what I think of when I think “formal”. This is something that we don’t see a lot of here in the Pacific Northwest as our tendency is more toward casual style, but I sure can appreciate the amazing design elements that bring this style together with great foliage!

Formal Foliage

This spot between buildings at Longwood is formal in layout and yet SO 21st century with the use of the bright containers!

Formal Foliage

This traditional arbor illustrates to you precisely what kind of garden you are visiting. Flanked by clipped trees and boxwood hedges, you can very much feel the southern charm of P. Allen Smith’s garden in Little Rock here.

Formal Foliage

Matching containers on pedestals are planted with iconic Pacific Northwest style conifers definitely give you the casual, cool feeling of this climate, with the contrast of a very formal English garden setting at the elegant Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Formal Foliage

Matching Tri-Color Beech trees are espaliered against a wall at the entrance to Chanticleer’s Teacup Garden. An immediate sense of energetic color is used masterfully here with this formally set duo that frame this opening to another equally energetic view.

Formal FoliageCool and elegant; another dynamic duo is featured here in the pool garden at Chanticleer. These Arizona Cypress ‘Blue Ice’ are kept clipped to frame the pool house perfectly.

How do YOU use formal foliage in your landscape? Drop us a note or send us a photo on our Facebook page here

Focal Points with Foliage


Trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and container designs with foliage as the focus is a design paradigm that is finally gaining the attention it deserves. This lovely Weeping Willow planted at the Bloedel Reserve outside of Seattle is a great example of how much forethought went into this view many years ago.

May 2011 Kerry Oldenberg 005

However, a focal point created with foliage doesn’t have to be something planned out 50 years ago. You can have a sophisticated foliage combination by your front door that adds drama to a shady entryway and provides a transitional and versatile, season to season container.

November 2011 Sue Richards Containers 009-001

A showy fall container on your back deck or patio to brighten up a gray autumn or winter day is an appreciated focal point element in many climates.

August 2012 Foliage and Bloom 570 copy

A path designed with lush foliage and texture as the focus might just be leading you to a WOW factor, view or vignette at the end of the path.

August 2012 Foliage and Bloom 527

September 2011 Scott & Dina Ferris Balcony 026-001

Or maybe that foliage focal point IS your entire design. 🙂 So, how do you use foliage in YOUR focal point designs?

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