Shawn’s rules on garden design The most important and profound concept in design to me is contrast. Contrast in color is the most important. My general methodology is red, variegated, green, blue, and yellow. You can do this in any order. My advice is be careful putting the variegated plants next to the yellow plants, they generally lose their punch. The second factor is texture. Texture can be as complex as one wants to make it. Simply put, little leaves, fern like leaves, big leaves, and grass like foliage. I am sure there are other categories. The key is do not put the same texture next to itself, always try and alternate the textures. Thirdly, is the shape of the plant. In my mind there are pointy plants, round plants, boxy shaped plants, weeping plants, skinny plants, and vase shaped plants. The same technique of not repeating oneself is key here. The plants to be really careful of getting too close to one another are the weepers. There are exceptions to these rules. In the words of one of my greatest teachers “ You gotta know the rules before you can break them”. I just thought sharing these ideas might help you the reader to create gardens you could enjoy and take great pride in knowing were unique.