Foliage Is King In This Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan

Create multi-season interest with this dynamic design focused on foliage.

Focusing on foliage is a surefire way to produce multi-season interest in your yard. While many gardens are all about flowers, this design for a mixed border emphasizes foliage plants of varying heights and textures, and throws a few flowers in for bonus splashes of color. The plants in this year-round excitement garden plan feature contrasting shapes, such as big leaves next to strappy ones and upright plants alongside weeping forms to give this bed a dynamic feel. Evergreen shrubs and trees provide year-round color and create a backdrop for plants with multi-hued foliage. Because the curving border grows in part shade, where it's more difficult to create contrast, yellow and variegated foliage plants predominate. On gray days, the yellow-splashed leaves look like little beams of sunlight.

Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan
Janet Loughrey

Plants for Creating the Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan

  • 2 Japanese forestgrass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'): Zones 5-9
  • 1 Winter daphne (Daphne odora): Zones 7-9
  • 2 Tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa): Zones 4-9
  • 2 Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata 'Sundance'): Zones 7-9
  • 4 Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba): Zones 3-10
  • 3 Chocolate snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'): Zones 4-8
  • 4 Angelwing begonia (Begonia coccinea): Zones 9-11*
  • 1 Rhododendron spp.: Zones 5-11
  • 1 Banana (Musa sikkimensis): Zones 8-11*
  • 1 Winter heather (Erica carnea): Zones 5-8
  • 7 Foetid iris (Iris foetidissima): Zones 6-9
  • 3 Japanese anemone (Anemone × hybrida): Zones 5-9

*Can be dug in fall and stored indoors in winter.

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.

Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan Illustration

Get the Free Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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