The Art of Using Color in Your Garden

Blossoming flowers in different colors in summer garden

When most people picture gardens, they think of colorful flowers. While not every garden looks like a rainbow, most have a variety of colors that draw people in. Colors can impact the beauty and design of a garden, so it’s a good idea to use them wisely.

Let’s take a look at the importance of colors in gardens and how you can use colors to improve your garden’s beauty.

Why Are Colors Important in Gardens?

Color is one of the best ways to make a garden stand out. Colors add excitement to gardens and make more people notice them. People are more likely to stop to admire a garden if it has lots of colors.

Using certain colors can evoke emotions or express a theme. Colors can also be used to highlight garden areas so they stand out more. Best of all, color is a great way to add variety to your garden.

Creating a Color Scheme for Your Garden

Colorful flowerbed in garden

One of the most important parts of designing a garden is choosing a color scheme. First, you’ll need to keep in mind that green will likely be the most significant color no matter what plants you choose. Also, many people overlook neutral colors, which are important in gardening. Neutrals can help tone down certain colors or create a boundary between two colors that would otherwise clash.

If you’re unsure what colors to use in your design, it’s best to turn to the color wheel. Here are some ways to choose garden color schemes:

  • Analogous Colors – Colors sitting next to each other on the color wheel, which go well together since they’re similar.
  • Complementary Colors – Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel, which can provide contrast.
  • Monochromatic Colors – Several tints and shades of the same color to provide a simple yet beautiful design.
  • Triadic Colors – Three colors evenly spaced from each other on the color wheel, such as red, yellow, and blue. They provide a unique balance while also using some contrast.
  • Warm and Cool Colors – Warm colors are types of red, orange, and yellow while cool colors are types of green, blue, and purple. Warm colors often go well with other warm colors while cool colors go well with other cool colors.
  • Dark and Light Colors – Using shades of a hue next to tints of another is a great way to include contrast. The same goes for dark hues next to vibrant ones.

Any of these options are great jumping-off points for people starting a new garden design. If your garden space is large enough, you can use several color schemes throughout.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a color scheme, look at other gardens for inspiration. Jot down notes of color schemes you like, and save pictures of plants that catch your interest. Once you have enough ideas, you can piece them together to create a gorgeous garden.

Tips for Using Color in the Garden

Below are some tips on how to make your garden a gorgeous colorful display. It’s easiest to follow these tips if you already know what color schemes you plan to use.

Provide Some Consistency

Garden with red plants

You can incorporate as many color schemes into your garden as you’d like, but it will look best if there are some consistent colors or patterns bringing it all together. For example, you can choose one favorite color that you want to be prevalent across your entire garden. You can make that color the focal point in different areas throughout the design to provide some consistency.

If red is your favorite color in the garden, you can choose color schemes that revolve around red. One area of the garden could have red paired with other warm colors, another could have it paired with an analogous color like purple, and another could use red with its complementary color, green. By doing this, you will have a variety of colors in your garden while still having some continuity. Since red is a vibrant color, it will also allow people’s eyes to easily move from one red area to the next.

Focus on Small Sections

If you have a large garden space, filling it with colorful plants may be intimidating. Thus, it’s often easiest to design one small section at a time before moving on to the next one. It will make the process more manageable, as long as you keep your overall color scheme in mind. When designing color schemes, don’t forget that nearly every area will have some green, which symbolizes growth, safety, and harmony.

Create Different Moods

Blue flowers by fence

Colors evoke a variety of emotions, so the color of the plants in your garden can make people feel a certain way. When choosing color schemes for each section, consider how you want people to feel in each area of your garden.

If there’s a secluded area where you want people to feel calm, you can use blue flowers. If there’s an area of the garden where guests can be social, you may want to use energetic colors like red. Some gardeners want their garden to cause a similar mood throughout while others prefer to have a variety of moods for different areas.

Use Neutral Colors

As mentioned earlier, most people don’t think about neutral colors when designing gardens. Using only neutral colors and earth tones may not draw enough attention to your garden, but when they’re used strategically, they can benefit the garden as a whole. Colors like black, brown, gray, and tan can be used alongside vibrant colors to tone them down. After all, people need some areas that are easy on the eyes to contrast the colorful hues.

Neutral colors are great for splitting up different areas and color schemes. For example, if one group of flowers primarily uses orange while another focuses on blue, it may provide an overwhelming contrast. So, adding a neutral color in the middle provides a barrier that makes the contrasting colors easier to look at.

Use Bright Colors

Vibrantly-colored garden

Bright colors are perfect for a garden if you want your flowers to stand out. Vibrant hues are ideal focal points for a garden. So, you should place bold-colored flowers in areas that you want people to be drawn to first. However, if all plants in the garden are vibrant, it may be too chaotic.

These bright colors will usually be in a spot you want your guests to look at, but bright colors can also be used to keep the attention away from areas you don’t want people noticing. For example, if your neighbors have unsightly weeds on their property, you may want to put bright flowers on the opposite side of your lot to prevent people from focusing on someone else’s messy yard instead of your garden.

Plant in Layers

Plants don’t always have to sit at the same level. Providing several layers of colors can make a garden more intriguing. You can start with small plants close to the ground, and then incorporate taller plants behind them, hanging plants above them, and colorful trees nearby. Gardens are about more than just flowers, so don’t be afraid to use a wide variety of plants.

Consider the Changing Seasons

Autumn garden design

If you want to make your garden beautiful year-round, you’ll have to make adjustments as the seasons change. Consider when each species will bloom and plant them in spots where they’ll be visible. If you have some plants for every season, there will always be something to look at in your garden.

Gardeners sometimes choose certain color schemes for different seasons. For example, some people focus on pastel colors in the spring, vibrant colors in the summer, colors to match changing leaves in the fall, and cool colors in the winter. While those are typical color schemes people follow, feel free to choose the plants and colors that appeal the most to you.

Create Contrast

Providing some contrasting colors is a way to draw attention to certain plants or displays in your garden. The most common and easiest option is pairing bright colors with dark colors. Vibrant flowers already stand out the most in a garden, but surrounding them with dark plants will make the colors pop even more.

However, use contrast strategically. If every flowerbed has bright hues beside dark plants, your eyes might not know where to look first. Use contrast in the most important areas of your garden, and then you can split up those areas from other stand-out flowers by putting neutral colors in between.

Keep Shady Spots Lively

Red, white, and pink flowers in the shade

Not all plants need the same amount of sun. There are plenty of mesmerizing plants that can thrive in shady spots, but they may be overlooked since they’ll always be in darker lighting. So, a way to keep shady spots interesting is to use vibrant plants. Use bright colors and tints of green, such as chartreuse. If the colors stand out enough, people will be drawn to them even if they’re not in direct sunlight.

Include Colorful Objects

Not every color in your garden needs to be made up of plants. You can use other objects like fences, pots, pergolas, sheds, benches, and garden sculptures to add to your garden’s design. If you have any area that uses mostly dull-colored plants, you can use other bright-colored objects to add some variety. On the other hand, you can use neutral objects to help tone down vibrant plants.

While adding objects to a garden can make it more interesting, using white items isn’t recommended. White goes with all colors, but it also stands out since all colors are darker than it. So, putting white fences or walls near your garden might draw attention away from your colorful plants.

Start Making Your Garden Colorful!

Planting colorful flowers

It’s hard not to fall in love with a colorful garden. So, if you want people to stop and admire your collection of flowers, consider what colors will work the best and plan a color scheme for your garden. By following some of the tips mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to create a unique colorful display for your whole neighborhood to appreciate.