Sameness Equals Boring
Different plant shapes create excitement in your landscape design. Sameness equals boring, so mix up the plant shapes and textures. Ornamental plants come in all shapes. Thank goodness for that! You need the contrast of spikes with mounds and the juxtaposition of flat forms with pendulous cascades. Before you send out a finished landscape plan for bid, do a quick review of the plant material chosen to be sure you provide the right amount of contrasting shapes—not too busy, and not too plain.
A landscape is a lot like a giant, outdoor floral arrangement. Create some drama with different shapes. A formal, squared-off hedge looks better against a carefully-shaped evergreen mound at the end of the row. An amorphous tall shrub becomes a star growing above a mass of weeping facer plants falling over their shared planter. A sharply-spiked focal point is grounded with a low, flat ground cover.
Use the natural shapes of plant material to reinforce the structural design of the garden. Tall, columnar conifers can pierce the vertical space to indicate stopping points for circulation. Undulation of eye-level, layered masses can lead garden visitors along a path. Spreading limbs can soften the hard lines of pavement or walls.
Remember, plants in real life don’t look like the ones in kindergarten pictures—simple balls of green. The varieties of shape and form are plenty, and provide lots of choices for the accomplished landscape designer.