What If

Colour, Texture and Plants - How to breathe life into a space

“Colour and Texture”

Before filling up you space with life through plants Colour and Texture needs to be considered in hard-landscaping and materials: Whether it is broadly displayed through maybe a coloured retaining wall or as an accent through furniture or even a colourful sculpture should be decided at this stage before considering colour within planting.

Texture influences the space and so does the relationship between textures.
Sometimes it can be subtle like the smooth finish of paving slabs or be raw like a reclaimed stone boulder used as a stepping stone. Consider not only hard landscaping but also existing features, views and plants like trees with their bark, rolling hills, steep mountain ranges or textured fields visible from within the space.
The more you can observe and visually investigate the easier it can be to create certain effects through the use of plants.

“Fill the space with life”

After you have decided on all the elements of hard-landscaping including colour, texture and their layout and relationships it is time to fill the space with life and there is no better way to do it than with plants.
Even through many gardening books offer to design purely based on colour the horticultural aspect is more important to make a garden work which does not mean that you should discard colour when you research and pick plants to fill the space.

Which direction is your garden facing? Where is the shade in the space?
How does light travel throughout the day? What texture is the soil? Does it drain freely or gets waterlogged easily? Even the pH can influence and sometimes limit your choice of planting.

Some advice is to condition the surroundings like soils to your personal needs when often it is best to work with what you have because the amount of work going into amendments changing the soil structure does have an impact on the existing ecology and habitat for wildlife including the soil biota.

Basic colour theory can help design a space but the natural light that illuminates the garden can be much more important as it not only advises you on which plants would grow but it can illuminate certain colours in different times of day. White for example looking particularly illuminating in the late summer evenings when the sun is setting or can add interest to a shady spot.Fiery red may look particularly vibrant in a sunny spot and hints of blue sing with the early morning light.

Green is also omnipresent and can act as a neutral colour tying in others within the space
and texture comes into play as well. For contrast you can pair broad leaves with fine ones. Dark with light greens. For harmony you may wish to stick to similar leaf and plant shapes for structural plants.

“Framing your space”

The college teaches to choose structural plants fist to frame the garden which is often supported by literature. Here you can focus on what the client wants.
Is it a garden for all year interest with potential evergreens, winter flowering shrubs or even seedbeds or is the space only a part of a garden and needs to look interesting in lets say May.

Once chosen you can fill the space with life adding several layers from spring to autumn with bulbs and greenery that changes and evolves. If you need some inspiration the visit Great Dixter where Fergus Garrett is keeping the legacy of Christopher Lloyd going. In the garden there are up to seven layers of plants that interact beautifully and each planting works within its horticultural boundaries.

Remember that these are simply thoughts and ideas that circulate on design which you can always break.
You can be as bold as you like to be and as Christopher Lloyd emphasised colour in a garden is something very personal and it has to please you, not others.

The build-up for “What if” will start mid April where Sebastian will take to Instagram stories to share behind-the-scenes footage including plant choices, arrangement and a little tour and be sure to not miss his giveaway of two tickets for the show for Saturday the 11th of May.

You can stay updated right here: ☞ Sebastian´s Instagram