Color Me Beautiful
Color, like sound and smell, has the power to strengthen mood. While there is no need to be specific about color as you evolve the landscape design for your space, you should be thinking about its overall “feel” and how this can be expressed in color. The location of your site, the materials from which it is built, its exposure (whether it is sunny or not), its usage, and the style of any adjoining rooms will suggest the mood.
The Effects of Color
Some colors are soothing and calming, others stimulating and invigorating—choose the ones that you empathize with and that reinforce the mood of your garden space. A small, sunny terrace with a Jacuzzi, for instance, is a high-activity space that would be best suited to invigorating blues and yellows rather than purples and grays, which would be too lugubrious. On the other hand, too much orange and puce would be out of place in a small country-style garden, with a gentle, quiet air that would be enhanced by colors with a calming quality, such as white, cream, and soft blues, pinks, and greens.
Creating a Color Scheme
It is particularly important that colors work well together in a small space, since every garden element, from walls and paving to furniture and planting, will be close together and viewed as a whole, and will quite possibly be seen in conjunction with the colors inside your home. Create a color scheme for your outside space as you would a room inside, coordinating each part of it. Select your plants by looking closely at a plant catalog, or better still, visit a garden center or plant nursery with pieces of paper the same color as your structures and furnishings.
Judging the Effects of Light
Light affects the quality of color, so bear in mind what the colors you choose will look like at different times of the day. Pale colors look pleasingly soft in gentle morning and evening light, but can appear washed out in a strong, noonday sun. Conversely, colors strong enough to cope with a high-noon sun can look too garish in the morning and evening. Put pieces of colored paper in sunny and shady spots and note the effects that the light has on them at different times of day. Try, too, to visualize what the colors you choose will look like in relation to seasonal changes of color—for instance, the fresh, clear shades of spring and the strong, rich shades of fall.