Timeless Appeal of a Garden That’s All White and Green
White blooms and variegated foliage float in these lovely landscapes
Some garden trends come and go — one year, chartreuse may be the “it” color for foliage or flowers; then a few years later, everyone is embracing purple. Trends aside, there’s something timeless and sophisticated about gardens with lush green foliage and white blossoms. Although most commonly associated with traditional landscapes, white-and-green color palettes look fresh in a range of styles from classic to contemporary. Here are nine ways to get the look in your own garden.
Deborah Cerbone Associates, Inc., original photo on Houzz
1. Traditional New England-style garden. White-flowering hydrangea and snowy carpet rose blossoms seem to float in the green landscape of this country home in New York state. To emulate this classic New England planting style, choose plants with primarily medium to dark green leaves, such as boxwood (Buxus spp.) and cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), to really set off the white blooms.
2. Farmhouse meadow. For a laid-back meadow look, seed an area under backyard fruit trees or a bit of open space on your property with a turf and a wildflower mix. White-flowering wild carrot (Daucus carota, USDA zones 3 to 9), aka Queen Anne’s lace, is often included in seed mixes in the U.K. and northeastern U.S., and creates a soft cloud of white blooms in spring. Turf seeds sold together with local wildflowers are commonly available throughout the U.K. but can be more difficult to get in other areas. Your best bet is to get in touch with a local native plant nursery to find seeds of native wildflowers (selecting for white blooms, if you’d like).
KR Garden Design, original photo on Houzz
3. Cottage-style courtyard. This circular backyard patio in London, complete with potted boxwoods and hydrangeas billowing over the brick walls, could hardly be more charming. Keeping a tight planting color palette of just green and white — and a few hints of pink and violet — makes the small space feel calmer than if the designer had included many colorful blooms.
debora carl landscape design, original photo on Houzz
4. Mediterranean beach garden. Gardens of all white and green also work well with Mediterranean-style stone walls and terra-cotta. In this garden in Solano Beach, California, the designer combined white shrub roses (Rosa ‘Iceberg’, zones 5 to 9) with fuzzy lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina, zones 4 to 8) and a soft underplanting of snow in summer (Cerastium tomentosum, zones 3 to 7) for a subtle, frosty look.
5. Ephemeral spring garden. To create an exclusively white-and-green garden without completely changing your landscape, choose a single area with existing evergreen shrubs, then pack beds with white-flowering bulbs and perennials. After the spring show of fresh white, replace with more colorful summer bloomers.
6. Woodland walkway. Turn to plants with silver variegated foliage to achieve a white-and-green garden without being dependent on blooms. For a naturalistic woodland style, plant dark green and variegated plants in swaths below trees, allowing them to billow over pathways.
Secret Gardens, original photo on Houzz
7. Subtropical retreat. This garden in Sydney ditches the flowers in favor of crisp white walls and a tapestry of green foliage and blue-gray succulents. To replicate this chic beach club look at home, limit your color palette to all green and white, and emphasize clean lines and forms rather than anything too fussy.
Becky Harris, original photo on Houzz
8. Formal European-style garden. Another classic use of an exclusively white-and-green plant palette is for traditional formal gardens and parterres. While this grand garden is part of a large estate in Massachusetts, a similar effect can be achieved on a smaller scale. A small formal parterre or knot garden edged with clipped boxwood and filled with airy Bridal Veil astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii ‘Bridal Veil’, zones 4 to 9) would be just as elegant.
CATO creative Ltd, original photo on Houzz
9. Contemporary urban garden. Transform a small patio or urban backyard into a chic green-and-white garden with just a few simple elements. In this London garden, the designer used low-maintenance artificial turf, a few potted evergreens, blooming hydrangeas and crisp white furniture for a contemporary look.