My approach to planting is best explained through pictures of my own garden. The first element is structure. A strong shape must be reinforced by structural planting. Trees provide the first component and these can be used in groups for screening, to lead the eye in a certain direction or as specimens. In smaller gardens trees may be to overbearing so the second component, evergreens are more useful . These will provide a shape and texture throughout the year.
Once the structure is in place then foliage is used to create texture. Large leaved plants create a backdrop and contrast, while leaf shapes and colour provide interest. For example tree peonies, golden philadelphus, grasses with seed heads in winter.