Gardens for Homes Series: Foliage Plants For Garden Decoration

Foliage plants

Planting with ‘non flowering’ plants can be as attractive, whereby the aesthetic is appreciated in the varieties of shapes, textures and colours of the leaves.

In tropical countries, there are many plants with attractive foliage or leaves that can be appealing in the planting composition for garden decoration. The features of these ‘foliage’ plants are in its varieties of shapes, textures and colors of the leaves. These characters are everlasting as compared to seasonal flowering plants. Thus, for gardens that uses ‘foliage’ plants as their planting concept will not require as much attention such as regular interchanging of plants.

The concept of using these leafy plants can also invigorate the corner of the garden that does not get enough sunshine, for most of these crops are shade tolerant plants. As such, these plants are also suitable for indoor planting, where sunlight is reduced.

 Green Foliage Plants

Most green colour foliage plants are shade tolerant and suitable for planting indoors in pots or planters

The approach to planting composition using ‘foliage’ plants is by positioning the plants according to its hierarchy in size, ie. taller plants in the back layer whilst the shorter ones in the front row to give an illusion of a bigger space. The visual impact of this planting composition is by creative arrangement of the plants using different textures, leave shapes and shade of coloured leaves, giving either a contrast or a harmonious composition. By adding splashes of some strong coloured or variegated leaves in the composition helps to brighten the garden.


Bold Shape leave Foliage plant

Different species of foliage plants with bold shape leaves and plant forms may be use to give a significant character in a planting composition


Coloured variegated leaves foliage

As an alternative to flowering plants, colours in the garden can be created using plants with coloured, patterned or variegated leaves


Fine texture leave

Plants with fine texture leaves give a soft feel to the garden


Just like any other garden decoration concept, these foliage plant composition can be combined with suitable hard landscape and garden ornaments such as pots, rocks etc to create a whole integrated design.

foliage plants garden

A garden corner decorated with soft textured foliage plants with different shade of greens, and combined with rocks as contrast.


Vernacular Malay garden

A vernacular Malay garden setting, integrating different textures, shapes and colours foliage plants composition in an undulating landform create a vibrant ambience in the garden


Garden décor

A garden décor using a vase as a feature in a setting of harmonious colours and shapes of foliage plant


By: Rozita Abdul Hamid

Rozita is a Landscape Architect / Master Planner with over 20 years experience in the field at national and international levels. Some prominent projects that she has been involved are Landscape Master Plan of Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur Landscape Master Plan, Hard Rock Café Melaka and landscape projects in Burj Dubai and The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.



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