Fairy Yardmother Landscape Design

by Kathy Oberg, Landscape Designer, Los Angeles, CA.

Thank you for visiting my site. I enjoy bringing you pictures of gardens, plants, and ideas from sunny Southern California. I love sharing after-photos that show how my landscape plans, plant lists and layouts come to life.
As a designer, I use plants to create drama, provide color and form, and compliment the architectural style of your home.
I strive to provide a buffer from sun, street, and neighbors while still fostering connections.
Inspired plant choices and site layout can make any space a success.
I am a Certified Watershed Wise Professional, with techniques to improve soil health and keep more water on your property.
I can help you makeover your patio, paths, planting areas, or entire property. I will consult with you, choose a look you love, and compose a plan and plant list to update your landscape, re-using what you already have wherever we can.
Each project is different because it is about making your space really shine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Plants -- Combinations of Textures and Colors

When I look at garden compositions, I find that I am most drawn in by contrasting forms and color. Probably the most common contrasts in form include rounded leaves combined with long, swordlike leaves, and round or swordlike leaves combined with lacy elements. Rounded vs long or lacy can also be seen in flowers. Here are some examples:

I am also struck by plants of dissimilar form, that echo the same color.
Here, a few of the paddles of the cactus behind (rounded), are the same purple as the Echeveria (rosette with long flower stalks).

And here, below, chalky white is seen in both the rosette of the Echeveria (round) and the lacy and long form of the Teucrium. To me, planting the right wonderfully dissimilar forms together tends to illustrate that the whole is often greater than its parts.

And then the alternative: strikingly similar forms in strongly contrasting colors. This can be very successful, but I do think that if the planting is going to be large and continuous, there needs to be a contrasting leaf shape present. Otherwise it gets boring! Notice the cement globe in the next photo acts as contrasting element. Here are two examples where similar forms in different colors work well together.

In all of these examples, some element ties the plants together. Maybe their colors are similar or complimentary while their form is radically different, or vice versa. There is usually a common trait shared, and often that is what allows the contrasting traits to pop. But sometimes the common trait is the thing we find surprising, as in the paddles of the cactus that match the purple Echeveria.
This discussion just begins to scratch the surface of the use of form and color.

1 comment:

  1. Texture and form are so much more important than ephemeral flowers. However I am really jealous of your large plant palette with the cactii in particular. What fun to have them to play with. I like the silhouettes and shadows.