Architectural crops – Contours Landscapes

At present’s weblog is checklist of crops, shrubs and timber which can be utilized as architectural type crops to create a watch catching piece in your backyard. By including a few fastidiously chosen crops, timber and shrubs one can go far to growing the attraction of your backyard and including curiosity and dimension. Flip boring uniform areas, into fashionable, jaw dropping present ‘items’.

Strappy and sword formed leaf crops

Phormium tenax & different Phormiums – These strappy/sword leaf, clump forming crops are available many alternative colors and sizes. Relying on the sort and dimension, can be utilized for mass planting, planting in small teams or specimen planting, in addition to they make incredible pot crops mixed with groundcovers planted round to cascade out of pot. They’re water-wise and low upkeep and like being planted in full solar or semi-shade.

Phormium tenax

Cordyline australis & different Cordylines – These are additionally strappy leafed crops which have an analogous look to Phormiums however differ in the best way that the leaves are a bit thinner, droopier and as a substitute of being clump forming crops develop on a cane stem. Varieties like australis and banksii are extra solar loving crops, the place Cordyline terminalis is a broader leaf selection extra acceptable for protected, shadier areas.

Sansevaria trifasciata, hyancinthoides & pearsonii – Sanservaria’s are all sword formed succulent crops. All of them being succulent are extraordinarily water clever and just about onerous to kill until you handle to drown them. They may develop in solar, semi-shade and even very shady spots and indoors. They can be utilized for a lot of totally different circumstances. Simply preserve one factor in thoughts and that’s that they are often fairly invasive typically, spreading through underground stems.

Yucca gigantea & different – Yuccas are giant rising succulent shrubs with sword like gray/inexperienced leaves on high of thick cane like stems. At some stage of their lives they really additionally get giant heads of white flowers which imagine it or not are literally edible. This shrub is extraordinarily architectural and eye catching.

Dasylirion wheeleri & others – This succulent shrub is a plant that grows on a brief stump and has symmetrical rosette packed spikey gray leaves with caramel brown cut up ends. This shrub can be very architectural and appears nice mixed with succulents and cacti because it initially comes from Mexico. This shrub may be very water clever and likes to be planted in a sunny space.


Juniperus scopulus ‘Skyrocket’ – This conifer is pencil formed and has an analogous look to the ‘Stricta’ but it surely has extra or a blue-grey color. Fairly amazingly it could possibly attain a top of 6m however will solely develop about 60cm large.

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’ – This conifer which grows wider is eye catching due to its brilliant inexperienced/ yellowish color.

Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ – This pencil like skinny darkish inexperienced leafed conifer is incredible as an architectural plant as though it grows very tall it doesn’t develop large so it may be grown in smaller locations and could be planted fairly shut to 1 one other. These conifers remind me of Tuscan and Mediterranean gardens the place they are going to be planted in lengthy rows subsequent to 1 one other.

Giant leaf crops

Alocasia – These giant leaf tropical crops come in several varieties with totally different color leaves. Some could be grown open air in shaded areas and others should be grown indoors. Though they don’t admire full daylight they’re truly fairly water clever.

Philodedrons numerous – These giant leaf shrubs are available many alternative shapes and hues. They are often grown indoors and open air in shady/semi-shaded situations. Two of my favourites are Philodendron xanadu with fissured darkish inexperienced shiny leaves and Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’ with maroon leaves.

Monstera deliciosa – This extraordinarily giant leafed plant has shiny darkish inexperienced leaves with holes in them which have led to its different frequent title ‘Swiss cheese’ plant. It’s a climbing plant which is of course discovered rising up timber, so watch out as can develop into invasive. It may be grown indoors in addition to open air and makes a incredible pot plant. It does greatest grown in shady/semi-shaded areas. Plant in pots to manage development.

Strelitzia reginae & different Strelizia’s – These indigenous shrubs have spathe like tough gray inexperienced leaves and get chook like blooms on stiff leaf stems. The reginae will get orange and blue blooms. The Mandela’s gold has yellow and blue flowers and then you definitely get juncea the place the leaves by no means absolutely open. These water-wise crops do greatest and can flower greatest in sunny areas however can be grown in half solar areas.

Heliconia’s – Heliconia’s have leaves that are just like the Strelitzia after which will get extraordinarily decorative brightly colored waxy bracts. Relying on the sort these waxy bracts will both be on upright stems or there are varieties which hold down as nicely. These crops all belong in additional tropical gardens and shouldn’t actually be planted in sunny positions.

Unusually formed leaf tropical crops

Gunnera manicata – The Brazilian large rhubarb is a plant with large leaves which are deeply lobed. This clump forming perennial normally grows greatest alongside streams and in damp areas and likes a nicely composted soil. It grows about 2,5m excessive and may attain virtually 4m large. It’s greater than usually dormant in winter. This plant could be fairly an issue to supply.

Acanthus mollis – This clump forming evergreen perennial has fascinating deeply lower brilliant inexperienced shiny leaves and boasts spikes of creamy white flowers with purple bracts. These spikes truly make actually good lower flowers. This plant can both be planted in full solar or semi-shade.

Acanthus mollis

Aloes, Cactis and different succulent crops

Aloes (Aloidendrons new title) – All Aloes are extraordinarily hanging in plant and leaf form in addition to their eye catching flowers. It is a large household and all are so totally different. The tree Aloe or Aloe barberae is a hanging architectural giant rising one, in addition to Aloe ferox and thraskii are additionally very architectural and stand out making a backyard extra fascinating. My suggestion is that should you actually like these crops then buy an Aloe e book to determine what you would love and what’s acceptable on your backyard.

Agave attenuata, geminiflora & different – These succulent like hardy crops are extraordinarily robust and don’t want a lot taking care of. The Agave attenuata is a softer gray/inexperienced leaf plant which may be very was once extremely popular in landscaping. For some time it wasn’t available because it skilled a illness however is slowly turning into extra accessible once more. Bear in mind that some Agave’s are invasive and shouldn’t be planted.

Furcraea foetida ‘Mediopicta’ – This variegated succulent perennial kinds a fountain of upright, lengthy, sword-shaped leaves. The contrasting colors of brilliant inexperienced and creamy white are very eye catching. Between the plant and leaf form in addition to the colouring, this plant is among the most architectural you may get. It’s a kind of crops that you simply can not actually kill and is extraordinarily water clever.

Euphorbia ingens, tirucalli – Euphorbia ingens is an indigenous spiny, succulent medium to giant tree which might attain a top of 6m finally. Though this tree is extraordinarily type like and engaging in its form, please take into account planting very fastidiously because the tree has a really toxic latex and the thorns could be fairly harmful. Wants little or no care and may be very water clever. E.tirucalli is a big shrub or small tree with pencil/department like stems. These stems can show brilliant yellow, peach and pink colors when grown in full daylight. This plant doesn’t have spines but it surely does have toxic latex.

Cyathea’s and different ferns

Cyathea (Alsophila) brownii & dregei – Tree ferns have an previous world really feel to them and remind me of prehistoric instances. The big fern leaves which unfold out, sit on an uncommon trunk. Understand that tree ferns and ferns typically desire sure situations. Develop in a shaded, protected place the place there may be not an excessive amount of sunshine or wind, in a great high quality composted soil. Understand that tree ferns want house to develop as they develop fairly large.


Beaucornia recurvata – This uncommon wanting type plant is usually named Ponytail palm due to the leaf construction. This evergreen perennial has an expanded or swollen caudex (or backside stem) for storing water. The skinny, strappy inexperienced leaves cascade giving it that pony tail look. This plant could be grown indoors and open air and it’s a very water clever plant.

Phoenix roebelenii – The pygmy date palm is a stunning small palm with a slender trunk topped with a dense crown of fine-textured, brilliant inexperienced fronds. This palm could be grown indoors and open air in full solar or half shade. This palm can both be single stemmed or typically will multi stem. Average to low water necessities.

Reeds & Restios

Elegia tectorum – This plant has an upright, symmetrical, tufted reed-like look with skinny, darkish inexperienced stems. These are topped with brown flowers. This indigenous plant truly does wish to be watered and could be grown subsequent to water streams and so forth

Elegia capensis – This indigenous plant has a drooping look to it, with its bamboo like stems and feathery needle like leaves. It belongs in moist areas alongside streams, subsequent to ponds and so forth however could be grown in a sandy soil so long as it’s getting sufficient water.

Cyperus papyrus – This perennial sedge native to Africa kinds tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water. It should both be grown in water or obtain a whole lot of water.

In conclusion, this checklist is however solely among the commonest crops used as architectural type crops. There as so many extra that one may speak about for instance, bamboos, Cycas, Cycads and so forth. Including these architectural crops to your backyard will certainly change the look of your backyard and make it extra fascinating in addition to extra fashionable. Watch out although to do some homework and select the right plant as majority of those should not small crops and can preoccupy giant areas in your backyard.

Article written by Jessica Ruger (Procurement at Contours Landscapes and Contours Design Studio and Horticulturist).

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