Layering Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, and Flowers to Create Colorful Fall Landscaping

Fall is the perfect time to refresh your landscaping and flower beds with plants of rich, contrasting colors and sizes to create depth, flow, and scale your landscaping. With fall in full swing it’s time to start replacing your landscaping with brightly colored varieties of ground cover, bushes, small trees, and flowers.

layered landscaping for fall color Katy Houston Sugar Land

Layering to Create Depth & Scale in Your Landscaping

When you create a design to plant your landscaping remember to insure you are creating a depth of textures, heights, and patterns. Planting a consistent border helps create structure, drama, and scale. Framing taller varieties like Vitex toward the back of the design helps draw the eye upward, creating an eye-catching flow.

While design and plant choice are important for healthy, low maintenance landscaping, selecting earth-friendly, non-invasive plants is also an important consideration. The best way to ensure you are using eco-friendly plant varieties that contribute to a balanced ecosystem is to use Texas A&M’s Earth Kind Plant Selector. Let’s explore some of the plant, tree, flower, and shrub species that can be layered to create rich, textural landscaping.

Ground Cover Plants

Rock Roses

Let’s start with varieties literally from the ground up. Rock Roses, aka Pavonia lasiopetala are a type of ground cover that thrive in full sun. If your flower beds are in sun for most or all day, this is a wonderful flowering plant that adds lush green color with bursts of purple and pink from this herbaceous native Texas plant’s flowers. It is an extremely drought tolerant plant that can thrive in the summer heat, yet flower all the way into winter and has high pest tolerance.

rock roses and antique roses
Knockout Roses and Rock Roses are perfect for the East Texas Climate


Roses are a perennial plant that are highly fragrant and can be pruned to create ground cover, yet are dynamic enough to prune into shrubs and climbing plants to adorn pergolas. There are many varieties of  highly adaptable roses with various flower colors, but we recommend antique roses or knockout roses because of their high disease resistance, lower water and fertility requirements, high heat tolerance, and high pest tolerance.

Maintaining them is a cinch as well, because they only need to be pruned heavily about every two to three years. Roses thrive in full or partial sun and flower through all four seasons (except during severe summer droughts).


Texas Sage

Texas Sage, aka Leucophyllum frutescens or Texas Ranger, is a beautiful medium to large shrub (depending on how it is pruned) that is extremely heat tolerant AND cold tolerant to 10° Farenheit! If you want a colorful, low maintenance shrub to add a layer of depth to your fall landscaping this is it. The light gray-green colored leaves and foliage contrast with this plant’s light purple flowers to frame beautiful landscape designs. Layering it with other bright colored shrubs.

Texas sage for layered landscaping with fall color
Texas Sage is a drought hardy shrub with grayish green leaves and bright purple flowers

Sunshine Ligustrum

Sunshine Ligustrum is perfect for layering with Texas Sage, roses, or rock roses because of its bright light green, almost golden colored foliage. This plant can be used as ground cover as well if pruned as such, and it thrives in full sun. This variety of shrub does not flower, which is great news for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

sunshine ligustrum
Sunshine Ligustrum, a bright yellowish green shrub perfect for adding depth

Vitex (Texas Lilac)

Texas Lilac, aka Vitex, is a large shrub or small tree in the sage family that thrives in full or partial sun. Its large fragrant purple flowers are a delight to the senses, and it is best to plant them in the fall. They require very minimal fertilization and are a gorgeous addition for layering around your fall landscaping. Vitex will start to flower around May or June and bloom all the way through the fall in southeast Texas.

Texas Lilac Vitex for fall color landscaping installation
Vitex, a large shrub or small tree also called Texas Lilac


Plumeria is a wonderfully fragrant flowering plant variety that can be considered a large bush or small tree. We recommend planting plumeria in large decorative pots and adding a few evenly spaced throughout your hardscaping or landscaping. In the Houston area plumeria can bloom from May all the way through the fall season.

plumeria plants for fall color layered landscaping
Plumeria Shrubs have fragrant blossoms and add a touch of tropical flair to your garden

Schedule Landscape Installation for Fall Color

If you’re craving fall color in your flowerbeds or landscaping around the perimeter of your or backyard, call Living Trees & Shrubs at (713) 464-8733 today. One of our landscape designers will come to your home and discuss your landscaping needs and work with you to create plans that include all of the styling elements you desire. We’ll even help you get them approved by the HOA. If you want to have landscaping installed in Katy, Houston, Sugar Land, or Fulshear, Texas request a free quote.

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