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South-Central Gardening: Shrubs that Add Texture

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Use shrubs to add texture to your Texas or Oklahoma garden. Lowe's garden contributor Linda Vater shows how.

A shrub bed adds fullnessand soft color  in fall.

Like you, maybe, I was first drawn to gardening through color. But now, after 20 years of gardening, I find textures and forms far more interesting.

In summer the shrub bed lends striking shape and color.

Experimenting with different textural combinations of leaf size, shape, and light reflection can help make your landscape more interesting and visually compelling. Plus it makes gardening an endlessly creative, never-ending artistic challenge.

Planting a variety of shrubs - evergreen, flowering and deciduous - is an easy and economical way to add this kind of texture and interest to your garden year-round.

Here are some examples from my own landscape that demonstrate how to play with varying shrub textures and shapes to create a composition that is more than just the sum of its parts.

Fuzzy oakleaf hydrangea mixes well with deutzias fine leaves.

The broad, fuzzy texture of oakleaf hydrangea, makes a brilliant foil for the fine, glossy, teardrop-shape leaves of this dainty white deutzia. The leaves and branches comingle, accentuating the beauty and characteristics of each plant. The effect is even more dramatic when leaves change color in the fall. Note the added structural evergreen element of the tall green arborvitae as a backdrop.

Even in winter, when the oakleaf hydrangea is devoid of its leaves, its flaking bronze and woody bark contributes to the architecture and romance of the garden.

Broad oakleaf hydrangea complements the spiky fern fronds.

Another layer of textural interest comes from marrying the hydrangea's large leaves with the arching, cut-leaf fronds of a large Kimberly Queen fern. In spring the white shades of the hydrangea's giant blooms weave with the delicate blossoms of the deutzia to produce even more garden magic.

Create similar beauty with shrubs in your garden by trying these classic textural combinations: matte against shiny, large against small, soft against coarse, and contrasting shapes of shrub foliage and form.

For more ideas, watch my video.