Introducing Color in the Garden

Color is a powerful tool in garden design. It can convey an atmosphere, mood or message, and influence our senses and the ways we respond to the environment around us.

Excerpted from Garden Design
Change Color Palette of Plants with Each Season Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Planting Combinations

Creating a variety of color combinations with plants and flowers is exciting. Change your garden's palette with the changing seasons.

Hard Landscaping Provides Consistent Color Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Hard Landscaping

Hard landscaping can provide color and interest, especially during flowers' down months.

Triadic Colors Instill Sense of Vibrancy Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Combining Triadic Colors

Select flowers and foliage in three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel to invoke a sense of vibrancy.

Adding Bright White Creates Strong Composition Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Creating Highlights

Use color highlights for bold effects. Plants with complementary colors will intensify the brightness of each other when placed together, while plants of similar hue blend to form a harmonious effect. A single, intensely colored plant framed by differently colored background will make the plant stand out. Consider adding white for a bolder composition.

Whites and Yellows Brighten Shaded Area of Garden Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Light, Shade, and Nature's Neutrals

Sunny areas make colors appear bolder and more concentrated, while shaded areas reflect more muted hues. Combine a variety of soothing grays, blues and greens with light-catching whites and yellows to brighten up a shaded area.

Lighten Color Scheme by Adding White to the Mix Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009


A general guideline to remember is that pure hues or saturated colors are more intense, while colors that have been mixed together are less vibrant. A tinted color, which has been \"diluted\" with white, will be lightened and appear more airy and farther away.

Darker Shades of Color Advance Warmer Look Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009


A shaded color, which has been \"diluted\" with black, will appear to be nearer. Draw on shadows, too, to bring in blacks and grays, which are rare in nature.

Restful Plantings Good for Intimate Seating Area Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Relaxing Colors

A serene atmosphere doesn't have to be muted. This Mediterranean herb garden includes fresh greens and pastels, like lavender and purple sage.

Blocks of Wood Intermingle with Foliage Plants Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Neutral Colors

Earthy browns and sandy tones contribute to a calm, relaxed atmosphere. Using weathered wood elements, reclaimed timber, wicker or bamboo makes screens, raised beds and furniture appear warm and nurturing. For flooring, consider sandstone paving, decking or pebbles.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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