Barking Up The Right Tree

Consider Bark Texture & Colour

Xanthorrhoea Australis bark.

Xanthorrhoea Australis bark.


Selecting plants for a landscape can be a wonderful journey in exploring the bounties of the natural world. Choosing the right plants from such a dynamic kingdom of choice can also feel overwhelming- there are so many options, where does one begin to look?

Gardens are not static spaces; they change with the seasons and grow through the years. They may be energetic social environments one day and retrospective quiet sanctuaries the next. A landscape’s unique, tactile quality prevails across all this, providing opportunity for thematic play in the form of texture. 

Utilising bark can be one of the most simple and rewarding ways to incorporate texture into the landscape. The smooth skin of an Angophora, the reptilian scales of a Xanthorea, or the wittled and wise knots of an Olive tree invite physical contact, providing a direct channel for us to connect with nature.


Trees with sculptural barks like Coastal banksia (Banksia serrata) or Dwarf date palm (Phoenix robelenii) make for excellent feature plants and can lend themselves well to accent lighting. The bright red, slender stems of a Japanese maple (Acer sangkaki) or ghostly, smooth trunk of a silver birch (Betula pendula) take centre stage in the winter.

Selecting trees with textural bark is a simple way to add depth, structure and contrast to a landscape. So, when you're feeling a bit stumped with your next planting plan, begin your story with texture. Try some of these plants below:


Draceana marginata

A great way to bring texture into a smaller garden , with its slender curving stems and horizontal stripes. 

Agathis robusta

A mammoth creature for a larger garden, its bark has an ancient stone like quality- and impressive sub-tropical native. 

Phoenix roebelenii

The crocodile-like scales of the dwarf date palm add an exotic touch to any garden, and is great as a container plant. 

Cyathea cooperii

The circular coin-spot patterned trunk makes for a beautiful feature in a more shady garden. 

Banksia serrata

With its bubbling ancient bark - this coastal banksia makes for an intriguing statement plant, lending itself well to accent lighting. 

Xanthorrhoea australis

This Australian native is a true king of texture- its snake -like blackened trunk brings the flavour of the Australian bush into any landscape. 

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