Foliage Garden Inspiration

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Lawn & Garden

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In many gardens, foliage takes a backseat to blossoms, but it can still play a vital role in garden design. Ferns with delicate leaves and ornamental grasses that create a fountain-like effect have a unique beauty that can serve as a lovely background to blooms or as the main feature of a foliage garden design. Foliage also carries a garden through the seasons long after the flowers have faded away.

Some foliage plants are far from just green, offering variegated patterns of white, gold, and red, or leaves tinged with yellow, blue, or bronze that can act as a focal point or an accent in a color scheme. Tall, flowing grasses and dense, leafy ferns are ideal for creating a lush and generous look in a small patch of earth. Additionally, many foliage plants thrive in shady, moist areas where most floral plants struggle. Take inspiration from the following foliage garden ideas and garden photos.

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A green-and-white-themed foliage garden features rich, green hostas tipped with white as the main attraction. Hostas are excellent choices for filling shaded locations and are practically trouble-free. A double helping of a white-margined cultivar anchors the border, which also includes ferns, foamflower, and bleeding heart. For more inspiration on using hostas, continue to the next page to see several hosta gardens.

If you think foliage is fabulous, take a look at these backyard garden ideas:

  • Color Theme Garden Ideas
  • Cottage Garden Ideas
  • English Country Garden Ideas
  • Fragrant Garden Ideas
  • Garden Ideas
  • Gardening
  • Habitat Garden Ideas
  • Natural Garden Ideas
  • Rock Garden Ideas
  • Traditional Shade Garden Ideas
  • Water Garden Ideas

Hosta Garden Inspiration

With almost endless varieties available, hostas are a favorite of horticulturists everywhere. These shade-loving plants provide a lush look to your foliage garden and pair well with other species, whether they be flowers or foliage. Plant them in careful patterns or in a more free-flowing style; these perennials will return season after season. Find inspiration for your yard as you examine these garden photos and hosta garden ideas.

Two very different hosta cultivars demonstrate the different effects breeders have achieved with these plants. One has narrow, variegated leaves with undulated margins, while the other has large, pleated, blue-green leaves in classic “plantain lily” style. The contrast between the two makes a wonderful foliage garden combination and acts as a foil for the rhododendron and evergreen behind. Most varieties of hostas also bear attractive, often sweetly fragrant lily-shaped flowers in shades of white and lavender during summertime, although the hostas pictured are not in bloom.

Hostas are a versatile plant with numerous variations in leaf color, texture, size, and shape that can make them the centerpiece of any garden. They can be combined with other varieties of hostas to create a beautiful display. Some hostas grow larger foliage rosettes with age, while others spread to form new clumps. The Saxifraga stolonifera and Begonia grandis add to the foliage display, as seen on the right.

While hostas are an excellent option, nothing can beat the elegance and variety of ferns available. For a closer look at stunning fern gardens, click on the next page.

If you’re a foliage enthusiast, you’ll be amazed by the different ways you can use your backyard garden:

  • Color Theme Garden Ideas
  • Cottage Garden Ideas
  • English Country Garden Ideas
  • Fragrant Garden Ideas
  • Garden Ideas
  • Gardening
  • Habitat Garden Ideas
  • Natural Garden Ideas
  • Rock Garden Ideas
  • Traditional Shade Garden Ideas
  • Water Garden Ideas

Fern Garden Ideas

Ferns are an ornate and elegant addition to any garden and can create a breathtaking fern garden of their own. Their intricate foliage and slowly unfurling fronds make them look like tiny pieces of art. They thrive in moist and shady backyards. Take a look at these garden photos and let our fern garden ideas inspire you.

The cinnamon-dusted fiddleheads of new fern fronds are as beautiful and captivating as a piece of art. This specimen is a focal point with carefully chosen placement. The warm fern color stands out against the gray rocks and path, and the contrast of the English bluebells provides a stunning backdrop.

A mixture of fern species creates a strong effect, but a large stand dominated by a single species can also be magnificent. Here, the ostrich ferns and hay-scented ferns create a wonderfully feathery texture, different from a combination of many different varieties but no less attractive. The spotted leaves of lungwort peep through in the foreground, and blue campanulas rise behind.

This fern garden features an assortment of fern species and a selection of colored trees. The watery landscape is beautiful and perfect for ferns, as they can tolerate marshy moisture more than other plants.

If your backyard has more sun than shade, a foliage garden is still possible. Check out the next page for an array of ornamental grass garden options.

If you’re a foliage enthusiast, you’ll be amazed by the different ways you can use your backyard garden:

The list includes various garden ideas such as Color Theme, Cottage, English Country, Fragrant, Habitat, Natural, Rock, Traditional Shade, and Water Garden. The article then focuses on Ornamental Grass and Tropical Foliage Garden Ideas. Ornamental grasses can be used as a central focus or mixed with other varieties for an exploration of texture and color. The article showcases different types of ornamental grasses and provides garden photos for inspiration. Tropical foliage gardens can flourish in cooler climates by growing tender plants in pots and moving them outdoors for summer. The article provides ideas and garden photos for incorporating tropical foliage, such as elephant’s-ear plants and palm trees, into your garden. It suggests using foliage as the main focus and adding flowers as accents.

The list includes various garden ideas such as Color Theme Garden Ideas, Cottage Garden Ideas, English Country Garden Ideas, Fragrant Garden Ideas, Garden Ideas, Gardening, Habitat Garden Ideas, Natural Garden Ideas, Rock Garden Ideas, Traditional Shade Garden Ideas, and Water Garden Ideas. The article focuses on plants that are perfect for a foliage garden. Foliage plants come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are not just a backdrop but can add luster to any landscape. Some of the plants that are perfect for a foliage garden include Avena Grass, Chinese Fountain Grass, Elephant’s Ear, Golden Scaled Male Fern, Hard Fern, Hosta Decorata, Hosta Fortunei, Hosta Francee, Hosta Sieboldiana, Hosta Sieboldii, Hosta Tardiflora, Hosta Ventricosa, Male Fern, Musa, Northern Sea Oats, Ostrich Fern, Royal Fern, Tufted Hairgrass, and Yellow Ginger Lily.

If you love plants and trees, you will be amazed at the possibilities for your backyard garden:

  • Get inspired by Color Theme Garden Ideas
  • Create a cozy atmosphere with Cottage Garden Ideas
  • Design an elegant space with English Country Garden Ideas
  • Indulge your senses with Fragrant Garden Ideas
  • Explore a variety of Garden Ideas
  • Discover the art of Gardening
  • Attract wildlife with Habitat Garden Ideas
  • Embrace nature with Natural Garden Ideas
  • Add texture with Rock Garden Ideas
  • Enjoy a cool oasis with Traditional Shade Garden Ideas
  • Relax by the water with Water Garden Ideas


1. What is a foliage garden?

A foliage garden is a type of garden that focuses on the beauty of the leaves and textures of plants, rather than their flowers. The plants in a foliage garden are selected based on their unique foliage colors, shapes, and textures. This type of garden is perfect for those who want a low-maintenance garden that still looks beautiful.

2. What are some popular foliage plants?

Some popular foliage plants include hostas, ferns, heucheras, and ornamental grasses. These plants come in a variety of colors and textures, making them perfect for a foliage garden.

3. What are some tips for designing a foliage garden?

When designing a foliage garden, it’s important to choose plants with a variety of textures and colors. Consider using plants with different leaf shapes and sizes to add interest to the garden. Group plants with similar foliage together to create a cohesive look. Finally, consider adding non-plant elements, such as rocks or sculptures, to add visual interest to the garden.

4. What are some benefits of a foliage garden?

A foliage garden requires less maintenance than a traditional garden, as foliage plants don’t require as much water or pruning. Additionally, a foliage garden can be enjoyed year-round, as the leaves of the plants don’t wilt or die like flowers do. Finally, a foliage garden is a great option for those who suffer from allergies, as foliage plants are less likely to trigger allergies than flowering plants.

5. How much sun do foliage plants need?

The amount of sun that foliage plants need varies depending on the plant. Some foliage plants, such as hostas, prefer shade or partial shade, while others, such as ornamental grasses, prefer full sun. It’s important to research the specific needs of each plant before planting them in your garden.

6. How do I care for my foliage garden?

Caring for a foliage garden is relatively easy. Water your plants regularly, but be careful not to overwater them. Fertilize your plants once a year in the spring. Prune any dead or damaged leaves as needed. Finally, keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may affect your plants.

7. Can I mix foliage plants with flowering plants?

Absolutely! Incorporating flowering plants into your foliage garden can add a pop of color and create a beautiful contrast. Just be sure to choose plants with similar sun and water requirements.

8. What are some common mistakes to avoid when designing a foliage garden?

Some common mistakes to avoid when designing a foliage garden include choosing plants that have similar foliage, not considering the size of the plants when they are fully grown, and not considering the soil and sun requirements of each plant. Additionally, it’s important to create a cohesive design that flows well.

9. Can I create a foliage garden in a small space?

Absolutely! Foliage gardens can be created in both large and small spaces. Consider using containers or raised beds to create a foliage garden in a small space. Just be sure to choose plants that are appropriate for the size of the container or bed.

10. What are some popular color schemes for foliage gardens?

Some popular color schemes for foliage gardens include green and white, purple and silver, and red and green. These schemes can be achieved by choosing plants with foliage in the desired colors.

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