BE CREATIVE WITH COLOUR
Paint your garden with colourful plants and brighten your outlook throughout the year! Whether you want a calming area to relax or a vibrant space to party, choose colour themes to suit your mood, combining plants and accessories to create the perfect garden for your health and well-being.
Plan the colour of your outdoor space as you would your interior by considering the colour of fences, walls, structures and landscaping materials as well as pots, ornaments, furniture and other features to combine with your favourite plants and flowers.
For somewhere bright and uplifting choose a colour palette with red, gold, yellow and orange – all colours with energy and warmth. Planted in bold bocks around a patio, and matched with furniture in equally uplifting colours, they’ll produce a joyful place socialise outside.
In contrast, create somewhere calm and relaxing using cool colours like blue, mauve and violet, set against a backdrop of green, and perhaps adding pure white and silver for a clean, tranquil effect. With soft chairs to sink down into you’ll create a peaceful and restorative space to sit out and meditate.
Different colours can influence on your emotions in different ways:
RED – bold, bright and stimulating, exciting and eye-catching
ORANGE – warm and vibrant, happy and fun
YELLOW – cheerful and welcoming, positive and stimulating
GREEN – fresh, natural and calming, peaceful and relaxing
BLUE – simple, cool, calming and relaxing
MAGENTA / VIOLET / PURPLE – striking, powerful and energetic
WHITE / GREY / SILVER – pure and simple, clean and classic
Creativity is rewarding and good for mental health, so explore your creative side by combining plants with other materials and features. Pick bold and dramatic plants to form a backdrop and set the stage for colourful seasonal stars to steal the limelight. Mixing things up may be fun, but take care as a riot of colour can look unplanned and disorganised.
Of course, there’s more to choosing plants than just their colour, such as their shape and size, texture, suitability to your site and soil, their season of interest, and more. At the end of the day colour choice is up to you, and if you like it then that’s all that matters!
THE COLOUR WHEEL
Colours can be grouped into four broad categories, starting with the ‘Primary Colours’ of red, yellow and blue. By mixing these primary colours you get ‘Secondary Colours’, so red and yellow create orange, yellow and blue make green, and red mixed with blue form violet. Mixtures of primary and secondary colours are called ‘Tertiary colours, like a green-blue or violet-red. Lastly you have ‘Neutral Colours’ like white, grey, silver, brown and black.
To choose complimentary colours try using a simple visual device called the Colour Wheel. Think of a pie divided into twelve coloured slices running from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and back to red. Colours opposite one another on the Colour Wheel, or equally spaced in a triangle, are the most harmonious, like red and green, yellow and violet, or orange and blue.
DID YOU KNOW?
Colour can influence your visual perception of space. By growing bright red plants at the end of a long, narrow garden you can make it appear closer than it actually is, while cool, blue flowers will look further away, giving the impression that the space is larger. Vibrant colours like red and yellow grab your attention, drawing the eye away from eyesores or views you’d prefer to ignore, while pure white and gold shine out on dull days and brighten a shaded spot.
Perhaps use the principles of the Colour Wheel to create displays, or have fun with colourfulful groupings or partners.
Highlight good planting companions eg
Purple & Yellow/Gold eg Geranium, Achillea, Rudbeckia.
Red, Yellow & Blue eg Solidago, Scabious, Camassia, Scilla peruviana.
Purple, Green & Orange eg Geum, Alchemilla, Geum.
Violet, Orange & Green eg Campanula, Erysimum, Salvia, Verbascum, Hosta, Euphorbia, Bergenia, etc.
GARDENS TO VISIT… for colour-themed inspiration
* Coton Manor, Northampton – for their Blue & Yellow Border.
* East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk – for their Red & Purple Border.
* Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire (National Trust) – for their Red Borders.
* Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent (National Trust) – for their White Border.
INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?
LIVING COLOUR LANDSCAPES
Using colour therapy in garden design
Learn the Basics of Color Theory to Now What Looks Good