Gray Gardens: 33 Shades of Gray In the Garden!

Gray is a hot interior design color, so why not take the chic outdoors? There are plenty of ways to incorporate gray in the garden, from silvery pussy willows and thistle to galvanized metal and on-trend chickens.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Tamara Staples

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Kaufmann Mercantile

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Image courtesy of CB2

Shades of Gray

Gray is the new taupe, and design fiends like the folks at freshome are heralding the appeal of gray in the home. "Modern and edgy, yet timeless and classic" are the virtues of this very "in" color says freshome. Take that tranquil, minimalist tone outside for a truly distinctive garden.

Eryngium Giganteum Features Ghost-Like Flowerheads

'Miss Willmott’s Ghost' makes an interesting and unusual addition to a sunny border. Its spiky, steely-gray bracts and cone-shaped flower heads last well into fall, and those ghostly silver bracts shine in the sunlight.

'Silver Dust' Has Silvery Gray Leaves

Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust' is a tender perennial usually grown as an annual. It has deeply lobed, silver felt-like leaves; in summer the plant bears yellow daisy-like flowers.

Echeveria runyonii

The upward swept blue-gray leaves of Echeveria runyonii stand out in containers with other succulents.

Salix Hastata Produces Soft Gray Catkins in Winter

A small deciduous shrub, 'Wehrhahnii' is slow-growing with a bushy, spreading habit. Purple-brown stems bearing silvery-white male catkins appear in early spring followed by bright green leaves.


This Ukrainian heirloom is an all-around winner: the Seed Savers Exchange tasters said it was the sweetest squash they've ever tasted, which makes it perfect for baking. An added bonus: the ghostly gray shell makes it a good carving pumpkin.

Slate Chips Create a Modest Pathway

Gray slate chips are one of several stone aggregates now available for garden landscapes. Lay like gravel over a permeable membrane.

Get Your Gray On

A beautiful metal circular bench gets some British flair.

Leaves of Steel

A steel wall as art also serves as a screen for this contemporary garden. Cut-out leaves give a glimpse of the space beyond the wall. Colorful perennials complement the steel gray color.

Fountain Grass

The attractive grass ‘Hameln’ is highlighted by fluffy white-gray plumes arching above the foliage. It provides striking contrast when used among shrubs or as a backdrop for perennial beds. The foliage turns golden in the fall.

Modern Gray Containers

Decorative planters come in a variety of materials and styles, including metallic containers. The combination of the gray containers with architectural foliage gives a contemporary look to a backyard space.

Globe Thistle

Globe thistle has woolly gray stems and impressive spiny, hairy gray-green leaves up to 10 inches long. Spherical blue flowers appear in summer.

Gray Ground

Communal gardens must be low-maintenance, so giant container-like raised beds are used for this newly planted garden. The elevated soil level is at a height that makes plants easy to tend, and the retaining walls make suitable spots to sit.

Galvanized Containers Create a Vertical Garden

Small galvanized containers in an industrial-chic gray create a vertical wall garden for these flowering plants.

Silver Duckwing Modern Game LF Hen

The Silver Duckwing, which has a lovely gray sheen, was bred strictly for show and, according to Chronicle Books' The Magnificent Chicken, is known for being "trusting toward people."

Pair Begonias With Trailing Plants in Gray Containers

Begonias pair well with trailing plants in tall contemporary containers to brighten a modern decor with color and texture.

Stainless Steel Post Lights and Gray Pavers

Stainless steel posts both define and illuminate this entrance path. Creative, functional outdoor lighting is a good way to put focus on a garden feature after dark.

Embrace Gray in a Winter Garden

Structural seedheads last well into winter and look striking in fall light, decorated with cobwebs and frost.

'Silver Queen'

Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver Queen' is an herbaceous perennial with gray aromatic foliage.

Lavender in Matching Silver Pots

Matching muted-silver pots on a garden bench are the perfect choice for lavender plants. Gray plays nicely with purples and pinks in the garden.

Teucrium Fruticans

This flowering plant in the mint family draws bees and features aromatic silver foliage.

Centaurea Cineraria

Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White', with its frosty-silver leaves, makes a striking container plant or a great accent plant in a border.

Salvia Argentea

Salvia argentea, also known as silver sage, has downy silver-gray foliage and is often grown as an annual.

'Valerie Finnis' Offers Silvery Foliage in Summer

Artemisia ludoviciana 'Valerie Finnis' is an outstanding silver-leaved perennial for any sunny border. Plants form a bushy, upright mound, with clusters of creamy flowers in July. Good in tubs and containers with other perennials.


Artemisia 'Powis Castle', or mugwort, is an invaluable foliage plant. Its multi-branched stems of silver filigree foliage act as a foil to medium-sized flowering perennials. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.

All Meshed Up

"Mente la Menta" at the International Garden Festival at Chaumont features a circular pool and sculpture made from steel mesh. This modern garden tableaux offers a breezy, interesting hardscape to this outdoor space.

Mixed Gray Gravel Mulch

Long-lasting and inexpensive, gravel preserves moisture in summer and keeps standing water away from sensitive plants.


Most artemisias thrive in gravel gardens—a great way to mix two shades of gray. The wormwood variety has curling, silvery leaves.

Gray Steel Burgon and Ball Shears

Burgon and Ball has been designing garden equipment since 1730 in Sheffield, England, so these cutting tools from Kaufmann Mercantile and endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society are built to work and to last. These beautifully designed shears are the elegant museum pieces of garden equipment.

Slate Path

Designers have created innovative uses for commonplace materials, such as this pathway created from slate arranged vertically.

Gray Circular Seating

This built-in ashy gray circular bench makes the tree a focal point. Built-in furniture is an effective way to take advantage of available space; it also helps solve clutter and furniture storage problems since it can be enjoyed all year.

Gray Garden Bench

One advantage of gray in the garden is that it complements and creates a subtle backdrop for vivid bursts of color.

Galvanized Terrarium

This terrarium has an industrial chic edge thanks to galvanized metal, a great material for bringing gray into the garden.

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