With lots of leaves, limit color
The ample space and deep soil in her backyard allowed Marilyn to choose a number
of differently shaped foliage plants as the bold factor in its design. She’d always felt that too many gardens used flowers as a crutch and loved the idea of a nearly flower-free design. So she chose a diverse set of leaves as her building blocks, like those of gunnera (Gunnera manicata, USDA Hardiness Zones 7–10) and ‘Chocolate Wings’ rodgersia (Rodgersia pinnata ‘Chocolate Wings’, Zones 5–9).
Because these diverse leaves were the detail Marilyn chose to make bold, other elements, like color, had to be controlled. Too many colors on so many differently shaped leaves would have been too much and a bit disconcerting. To avoid this, Marilyn used mainly black, burgundy, and green foliage.