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Accent Plants in Landscape

Draw attention to the bright spots in your landscape with accent plants.

January 15, 2024

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Perfect for highlighting any special feature within your landscape, from a bird bath to an ornate gate, accent plants help show off the highlights of your green space.

Used in groups or as a single plant, potted or in the ground, accent plants naturally draw your eye to them. Trees, shrubs or flowers can serve as accent plants, because it’s not what you use, but how you use it that really allows a plant to accent your landscape design.

The benefits of accent plants

Accent plants are your eye catchers, your stand outs. They create visual impact that breaks up repetition in the landscape. A properly placed accent plant can make a landscape more dynamic, adding a little excitement to the area to ensure it is never overlooked.

This happens because of contrast. Your accent plant shouldn’t blend in. Create your focal point by diversifying height, color, size and texture. Your accent plant then looks so different than the area around it, you just can’t help but stop to stare.

Accent plants can break up greenery, but also help guide the eye to essential areas within the landscape. This can mean drawing attention to gates, walkways and even steps up to the front door.

Where to plant them?

There’s no singular place where accent plants belong. They can go anywhere you want to create a standout in your landscape design. To get the flow right, accent plants shouldn’t clash with their surroundings, but rather tie into the existing style and greenery. You want to create contrast without making it feel like your accent plant doesn’t actually fit in.

What you plant where, however, is not about getting the aesthetics just right. You should also take into consideration the environment where you want to plant. What accent plants will thrive in the soil? How much sun does the area get? Is there enough water and/or drainage? Once you know what types of plants will thrive, you can narrow down appropriate accent options.

When soil conditions aren’t as favorable, or you simply don’t have the space to put another plant in the ground, potted plants can also serve as your accent pieces. They can point out a path or entryway or even serve as a border, helping people see where they need to walk to navigate through the landscape.

Common accent plants

Shrubs, trees and flowers can all fit into the accent plant category. What works for you depends on what will make the plant stand out in your landscape. If it’s height, you may want a tree. If you want something shapely you can prune, consider a shrub. When it comes to color accents, flowering plants are a great choice.

There are many accent plants popular in landscapes that will thrive in many growing zones across the country.


When you want to make a statement with height, think about adding in an accent tree. Some popular types include:

Shrubs and grasses

The taller the better when it comes to shrubs and other vertical plants since they can add color, texture and height. You can also prune certain shrubs to create a shapely design, enhancing your accent plant. Popular types of accent shrubs and grasses include:

Flowering plants

Both annuals and perennials can work effectively as accent plants. They come in all colors and give you the flexibility to add in a pop of color against the palette already in the landscape design.

The benefit of annuals are that they only last for a year, giving you the ability to change things up if you want to experiment with how different plants accent your landscape. Perennials will come back, and are a more permanent addition.

A few popular choices when it comes to flowering accent plants include:

Flowering plants also work great in pots if you’re looking to create an accent feature above ground. Mix and match to create a contrasting design that will surely catch the eye.

Maintaining access plants

Accent plants will thrive if planted in their ideal environment. This is where they’ll have proper levels of sunshine and water. Since the range of accent plants is so big, you’ll need to check care instructions for the plant itself before using it in your landscape. Make sure your soil conditions are optimal, and follow care directions for watering and feeding. You may even want to re-test the PH levels of your soil to ensure a good match.

Find the right accent plants for any landscape

Increase the curb and garden appeal of your landscape with the right accent plants. With a long list of choices, you won’t have trouble finding a great accent plant to suit your landscape design, but should you have any questions, local SiteOne branch associates are available to help. You can also check out our online resources, shop online at or use our mobile app.

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