Selecting Plants Based on Aesthetic Appeal

Understanding Plant Aesthetics

When planning a garden, aesthetic appeal is a crucial aspect to consider. Choosing plants that complement each other and create visual harmony will enhance the beauty of your space. This article will discuss various factors to consider when selecting plants based on their aesthetic appeal.

Color Combinations

One of the most important aspects of plant aesthetics is color. The right combination of colors can create a stunning visual display. Consider the following elements when choosing plants for their color:

Foliage Color and Texture

The color and texture of foliage can greatly impact the overall look of a garden. Choose plants with a variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors to create a visually interesting landscape. For example, combine plants with bold, dark foliage, like heuchera, with those featuring delicate, light-colored leaves, such as ferns or hostas.

Flower Colors

Flowers are often the focal point of any garden, and their colors should be carefully considered. Select plants with flowers that complement or contrast each other to create a harmonious display. For example, pair bright red flowers like salvia with more subtle blue blooms, such as delphiniums.

Size and Growth Habit

Another factor to consider when selecting plants for their aesthetic appeal is size and growth habit. By choosing plants that vary in height and form, you can create a visually engaging garden.

Small Plants

Incorporate small plants, such as groundcovers or low-growing perennials, to add visual interest at ground level. Some examples include creeping thyme, sweet alyssum, and sedum.

Medium Plants

Medium-sized plants, like certain perennial flowers and small shrubs, can serve as a bridge between the smaller and larger plants in your garden. Some examples include lavender, hydrangea, and butterfly bush.

Large Plants

Incorporating large plants, such as trees and tall shrubs, can create a sense of depth and provide a backdrop for your other plants. Examples of large plants include Japanese maples, crape myrtles, and viburnums.

Plant Form and Shape

The form and shape of plants are also essential for creating visual interest. Consider plants with a variety of forms to ensure a dynamic and engaging garden.

Upright Plants

Upright plants, like columnar trees and tall perennials, can add height and structure to your garden. Examples include fastigiate oaks, holly, and tall grasses like miscanthus.

Spreading Plants

Spreading plants, such as groundcovers and low-growing shrubs, can fill in gaps and provide a cohesive appearance. Examples include creeping junipers, ajuga, and prostrate rosemary.

Mounding Plants

Mounding plants, like certain perennials and ornamental grasses, can create soft, rounded shapes that contrast with upright or spreading plants. Examples include daylilies, heathers, and fountain grass.

Seasonal Interest

To maintain aesthetic appeal throughout the year, choose plants that offer seasonal interest, whether through flowers, foliage, or other features.

Spring and Summer Blooms

Choose plants that bloom in the spring and summer to create a vibrant, colorful display during the warmer months. Examples include peonies, irises, and dahlias.

Fall Foliage

Incorporate plants with attractive fall foliage to extend the visual interest of your garden into the cooler months. Examples include Japanese maples, burning bush, and dogwoods.

Winter Interest

Select plants that provide interest during the winter months, such as those with attractive bark, evergreen foliage, or colorful berries. Examples include paperbark maple, holly, and winterberry.

Creating a Visually Pleasing Garden

When planning a garden with aesthetic appeal in mind, consider the following design principles:

Design Principles

  • Balance: Create a sense of balance by evenly distributing plants of various sizes, colors, and textures throughout your garden.
  • Contrast: Combine plants with contrasting features, like dark foliage against light-colored blooms, to create visual interest.
  • Repetition: Repeat certain plants, colors, or textures throughout your garden to create a sense of unity and cohesion.
  • Focal Points: Include focal points, such as a striking tree or a piece of garden art, to draw the eye and create a sense of structure.

Plant Combinations

Experiment with different plant combinations to find the most visually appealing arrangements. Consider factors like color, texture, size, and form when selecting plants to pair together. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try unconventional combinations – the key is to create a garden that reflects your unique style and tastes.


What are some easy-to-grow plants with aesthetic appeal?

Some easy-to-grow plants with aesthetic appeal include lavender, hostas, daylilies, and ornamental grasses.

How can I add height to my garden for aesthetic appeal?

Incorporate upright plants like tall perennials, columnar trees, and tall grasses to add height and structure to your garden.

What should I consider when choosing plants for their color?

Consider the color of both foliage and flowers, and aim for a mix of complementary and contrasting colors to create visual interest.

How can I create a garden with year-round aesthetic appeal?

Select plants that offer seasonal interest, such as spring and summer blooms, attractive fall foliage, and winter features like colorful berries or evergreen foliage.

What are some design principles to follow when planning a garden for aesthetic appeal?

Some design principles to consider include balance, contrast, repetition, and focal points. These will help you create a visually engaging and cohesive garden space.

Scroll to Top