Design Inspiration: Lush Planting

Lush Planting
Lush Planting

Architectural planting is big in the gardening world at the moment and if you’ve ever fancied giving it a go then look no further! The key is to pick plants with strong, positive shapes and position them to create interesting single features or as a contrast against softer, more rounded planting areas. Keep it simple – you can use colour, but shape is the key here and the more striking the better.

Key Plants

Use big-leaved plants like Hostas and Cannas for impact – in addition, they’ll create a sense of abundance. Combine these with the vertical spikes of purple-leaved New Zealand Flax (Phormiums) for a strong contrast of colour, form and texture. Mature ferns or fern-like plants give further contrast and add lushness to a scheme. Even fairly ordinary ferns can seem exotic when twinned with large-leaved plants.

To create a lush and verdant feel in your garden, try adding the following plants…


Cannas have not only huge paddle-shaped leaves but orchid-like flowers in fiery reds and oranges. They grow up to 1.5metres (5ft), are semi-hardy and suit most soils. For a striking arrangement, plant alongside Australian Callistemons with its red bottlebrush flowers and Abutilons.


Honeybush (Melianthus)

This architectural, evergreen shrub has exotic, glaucous blue foliage – spectacular, grey-green to steely blue-grey leaves that will grow up to 50cm (20in) long, with spikes of brownish-crimson to deep brick-red flowers. Plant with the large Euphorbia mellifera from Madeira to attract attention.

Hosta (Hosta)

Hostas are good-lookers in many situations. They’re perfect for shady gardens and light woodlands, and they’re just right for patio pots and herbaceous borders. Their flowers are a satiny mauve and white and they grow to around 35cm (14in) high, 66cm (26in) wide. They are, however, less than perfect when slugs have been at them, so make sure you control the pests if you want pristine Hostas.


Holboellia latifolia

This twining evergreen South American climber has rich green leaves and can be grown on a north-facing wall. Vigorous and hardy (although it may need sheltering from strong winter winds), it will grow up to 4.5m (15ft).