Cohesion in a garden can be difficult to achieve. A design can appear either too homogenous or too disparate. The latter is especially true for us gardeners who are collectors. The answer lies in what I call “meaningful juxtaposition.” I break down the concept of juxtaposition, or comparison-contrast, into four parameters: size, shape, color, and texture. Whether plants or hardscape materials, all garden elements possess these four parameters. Matching all four can be predictable, mediocre, and boring—rather like purchasing a matching furniture suite from a big-box store. But if none of these parameters relate, a garden can look like the markdown rack at a garden center. Aiming for garden cohesion begins with matching two of those four parameters and varying the others. Doing so produces enough interest to draw the viewer into the unexpected, the tactile, and the magical. Who doesn’t want to add a measure of magic to their garden? Let’s explore each parameter and how to employ it successfully.
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