Glossary of Color Terms
Here's a guide to help gardeners make the most of their color palettes.
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Analogous - colors such as orange and yellow that are adjacent or near each other on the color wheel. Analogous colors are considered pleasing and harmonious and help lend a blended, unified look to the garden.
Complementary - a color that's opposite another on the color wheel. Red and green are complementary; so are blue and orange. Complementary colors intensify each other, making each other "pop." Use them to create focal points, to highlight a particular area of the garden.
Cool - a color that's in the blue-purple range of the color wheel. Exception: cool colors such as blue can appear warmer if they contain some yellow. Cool colors such as blue, lavender and violet can make a small garden appear larger.
Monochromatic - a color scheme that uses different shades of the same basic color. Using monochromatic colors in the garden lets other factors such as texture and form become more important.
Polychromatic - a color scheme that uses a lot of colors. Gardeners who want a little of everything in a spontaneous sort of assortment may not want to position colors in any certain way. Others may want to put analogous colors together, then systemically create a flow of color that makes easy transitions between the color groupings.
Value - the relative luminosity — or lightness — of a color based on how much white it contains. Yellow has the highest value, followed by orange, green, red, blue and violet.
Warm - a color that's in the red-orange-yellow range of the color wheel. Exception: warm colors such as red can appear cool if they contain some blue. Warm colors appear closer in the garden.