White has a magical quality in the garden. Among a sea of greenery, pale blooms are cool, calming, luminous and often fragrant, which adds to their sensory appeal. While flowers often play a starring role, the arrangement relies on a supporting cast of stunning foliage in varying tones, textures and shapes to define garden beds and add interest. There was also a time a predominately white floral scheme was paired with only traditional homes, but it can now be an effective foil for minimalist modern buildings, too. To inspire your own dream scheme, we’ve rounded up expert tips and some of the prettiest plants around.
Style story: classic
To complement older, period-style homes, introduce formality and definition with hedging and topiary, suggests Andrew Stark of Andrew Stark Garden Design. “Neat border plants, avenues of trees, special pruning and shaping techniques, such as pleaching and espaliers, show off the structure of the plants,” he says. Highlight focal points and create vistas with decorative, large-scale pots and urns, cast-iron fountains, bird baths, intricate wrought-iron arbours and bench seats positioned in key spots. Different-sized plants in harmonious shades of green make a strong backdrop to white blooms, just like this garden by Eckersley Garden Architecture, as the graduating heights form a tiered effect within garden beds, explains Jenny Delmage of Naturescape Creative. “Try an emerald hedge with Viburnum suspensum, followed by the lime-coloured foliage of Murraya paniculata in the middle ground,” she suggests.
Style story: modern
For a contemporary space infused with white, Josh Harrison of Harrison’s Landscaping suggests a minimalist asymmetrical approach. Use offset, staggered paths, contemporary screening to form garden rooms and striking mass plantings, just like this garden by Brendan Moar. Also, less is often more in a modern scheme, so pare it back to basics. “Large pots with strong architectural plants like Dracaena draco and pandanus palms can reflect a structure’s clean lines,” recommends Paul Stein of Seed Landscape Design.
Tip: “Dark background tones on walls and fences add depth to gardens and make white flowers, as well as foliage pop,” says Josh Harrison, who suggests using Dulux Monument and Domino on fences and screens.