5 Ways to Create Contrast In Your Garden

Black eyed Susans against a backdrop of grasses.

Black eyed Susans against a backdrop of grasses.


Contrast is essential for any successful landscape design. Contrast helps the eye to spot different shapes and levels, and can be the key to adding dimension to your yard. Without contrast, your landscaping can look flat and dull or perhaps so cluttered that it is just overwhelming.

So what are some of the different ways to create contrast?

There are many ways, to create contrast and you may already be using many of these without even realizing it:

Plant textures:  Silver Mound Artemisia has a soft, matte, grey texture that makes it a great contrast to the shiny mound of large burgundy leaves of the Coral Bells.

Plant shapes: The rounded broccoli-like flower heads of the tall Purple Stonecrop stand out against the pointy, upright spikes of the Spiky Speedwell or Blue Sage. Round Globe Cedars also look great up against, the grassy spilling leaves of Daylilies.

Leaf variety: Leaf contrast is often used in shade borders. The big round leaves of Hostas contrast well against the tiny leaves of groundcovers like Bearberry or Creeping Jenny.

Mass: Big, bold, top heavy coneflowers like Black Eyed Susans or Echinacea look great growing against a backdrop of airy feathery  grasses. This combination is great for late summer and fall interest.

Colour: Burgundy Purple Leaf Sand Cherries are complemented by the tiny golden leaves of Goldmound Spirea.  Bold orange Asiatic Lilies also look great growing above the delicate small blue flowers of Brookside Cranesbill.       


With our 30% OFF outdoor clear-out sale starting this Friday, now is a great time to pick up some of these amazing shrubs and perennials and get a great deal on them at the same time.


Maria is a landscape designer trained and educated in the Netherlands. She owned a landscape design business for 10 years before moving to Edmonton in 2005 and joining the Hole's team. Book a landscaping design consultation with Maria Beers