Texture, Elements of Art in the Landscape

Texture as a Landscape Design Element in the Northeast Florida Garden

Texture in the landscape as it pertains to hardscapes and existing structures can be described as the surface quality of an object that may be seen or felt. The words small, medium, large, fine, smooth, glossy, matt, coarse, natural, rough and many more may be found describing the texture of either an object or plant in the landscape. 

Texture in the landscape when referring to plant material will most often be used to describe the relationship between the leaves of plants. The plant as a whole, the leaf size and sheen, bark, flowers, fruits as well as the form of the plant all affect the overall perceived texture of the plant.  

Texture in plant material is intentionally varied to increase the visual interest of the overall planting and is often recommended to increase or decrease the surrounding texture of adjacent plant material by at least one third for a dramatic effect. I am definitely not one for rules in the garden. It is the last place where I feel you should have to conform to a society norm or adhere to strict guidelines. That being said, the rule of thirds still may be nice to consider when attempting to add eye appeal to a container planting, or drawing attention to your new bird bath or other garden centerpiece. 

Varying the textures in any planting increases the visual appeal and catches the eye, drawing attention where it is desired.

In addition to attracting attention texture can be used to trick the eye or change our perspective on the landcape arround us.

For example fine textured plant material can be used to make spaces feel larger or farther away than they are in reality. Big bold textured foliage can be used to seemingly draw objects closer to you or make a space feel more enclosed and less open.  

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Let’s take a look at some examples of different textures in the landscape. 

Fine Texture in the landscape

Medium Texture in the Landscape

Bold or Coarse Texture in the Landscape

 Smooth Texture in the Landscape

 Soft Texture in the Landscape

Rough Texture in the Landscape

Glossy Texture in the Landscape

Dull texture in the Landscape