At the middle level, go for shrubs like silver-leaved germander (Teucrium fruticans), the golden form of duranta (‘Sheena’s Gold’), or one of the many native westringia species, with their soft grey foliage – planting a whole hedge will create even more impact.
Down at the lower levels of the garden, there are all sorts of groundcovering plants with great leaf hues – try burgundy-leaved alternanthera, silver-leaved helichrysum, Plectranthus argentatus, or any of the showy coleus varieties.
In warmer climates, the aptly named bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii) creates an explosion of deep red foliage, while for cooler climates, heucheras offer a whole range of fabulous leaf colours and look great planted as an edging border.
Stripes, speckles and splashes
When it comes to flashy multi-coloured foliage, bromeliads have to be at the top of the list. These compact plants with their rosettes of strappy leaves come in a wide variety of striped, speckled and variegated forms and are super versatile – they’re just as happy in containers as they are in the garden. Most nurseries carry great selections of ‘broms’ these days and many varieties also produce a showy flower display as an extra bonus.
For something a little taller, get to know colurful cordylines, both the spiky leaved forms (Cordyline australis) and the broader-leaved varieties (Cordyline fruticosa). Both offer some eye-catching leaf colours, ranging from bright pinky-reds to more subtle green and white striped versions, and will grow happily in lightly shaded areas, in either containers or garden beds.
If you live in an area where winters are frost-free, bear in mind that many of