What colours can do for your garden!

The effect

Every colour creates a different effect. Most likely, you will buy plants or accessories in the colours that you love. Yet, it can be such fun experimenting with colour in your own garden. If you don’t like the result, then you can always do it differently next year.

No surprises with a planting plan

In my blog, ‘How to create a unique look in your garden’, I explain how you can make a garden design and a planting plan. In it, you can precisely indicate where you want all of your plants to be placed, how high they’ll grow, their required space, when they bloom, and even what colours scheme you intend to create. Remember to include some plants that bloom consecutively, and some that are evergreen. It can be a bit of a puzzle, perhaps, but it’s the best way to ensure year-round enjoyment.

Why it doesn't work

Personally speaking, I love warm colours like red, pink, purple and orange. Enthusiastically, I once bought some annuals in these colours and put them in pots on my terrace. Yet I was always doing something wrong because the colours never turned out as well as I had hoped. I probably should have used more contrasting colours. But anyway, getting back to the choice of colours. There are different methods to choosing colours. You could use the colour wheel, you know the one, with all the primary and secondary colours. If this doesn’t ring any bells, just remember the following: warm colours attract and cold colours repel. Here’s a brief lesson taken from Miss Jekyll, an English gardener.

From warm to cold

In warm colours, there’s always some red. But besides red, there’s also pink and orange. If there’s any blue in a colour, such as green and purple, then they are cold colours. Warm colours attract attention, as they are dominant colours. That’s why they can also make your garden feel smaller. Imagine you’ve got a beautiful green hedge and at the end, there’s a red plant. You instantly look at the red plant, without paying any further attention to the hedge. Instead, use them, not at the end of your garden, but closer to the house. Or, if you’d prefer, place them in a part of your garden that you would like to draw attention to, like beside your pond or water feature, for example. By using cold colours, your garden will automatically feel bigger. Then, of course, there’s the white flowering plants, stunningly natural and easy to combine with any colour scheme.

So, does this mean that you shouldn’t use any warm colours in your borders? Not at all, but in this case, remember that too much can be a bad thing, as the end result also depends on the depth of the colour. Blue, yellow and red are hard colours, when they’re not mixed with other tones, which means, it can be more challenging to select a beautiful combination. Light pink plants can, of course, go very well with purple tones. However, if you’re really finding it difficult to decide, pick up some paint colour samples from a diy-store. Lay the colours beside and behind each other, and what happens?  Which, of course, brings me on to the topic of contrast.

What is contrast?

To create contrast, use two or more colours simultaneously. There are really stark contrasts, like those between red and yellow or black and white. If you use red and orange or white and grey, then the contrast is already milder. But if you put an orange plant amongst only red ones, then its colour will be completely swallowed up. However, if you place a red plant amongst only orange plants, then the red plant will spring out at you.

Of course, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. On your next visit to the garden centre, be sure to ask for some professional advice, or browse the internet for sample gardens. What colour combinations do you like? In the meantime, I have discovered that, for my terrace, a combination of fresh green tints with some yellow and orange accents work the best. Next year, I’m going to try combining pink and purple with some white for a totally different effect.

What is your favourite colour combination for your garden? Share it with us on ou Facebook page.


– Saskia –

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