Garden design is like interior decorating; both require balance, repetition, and rhythm. But garden design has the added element of change. Gardens are dynamic, different from day to day, season to season, and year to year.
The use of colour adds to the dynamics of garden design. All colour in a garden is lovely. It attracts the eye and keeps it moving. With a bit of planning you can use colour to even greater advantage in your garden. The options are endless; the choices you make are totally personal – there’s no right or wrong.
Succession of Bloom
When flowers bloom from early spring to late autumn you get a parade of colours in combinations that change by the day.
First come the minor bulbs such as purple, yellow, and white crocus and blue or white scilla, followed closely by bright yellow forsythia. Next are the daffodils, then tulips. As the late tulips fade lilacs add colour and fragrance to the garden. The shrubby Korean lilac extends lilac season another two weeks.
By now select perennials will be in bloom: pale pink and white dames rocket, purple and pink lupines, and early daylilies, which come in hundreds of variations of yellow, red, and orange.
More perennials bloom in early summer: Japanese iris, dianthus, yellow perennial foxglove, and lady’s mantle, with its lacy masses of pale green blooms.
By mid summer annuals and hardy perennials take over. Here’s your opportunity for fast-growing one season colour. With annuals there’s no commitment beyond this one summer, so there’s little risk in trying new colours.
You can choose annuals from the local garden centre when they are in bloom. That way you can see how the colours will interact with one another.
Contrasting primary colours lend heat and excitement to the garden design. For a bold colour scheme, plant yellow marigolds of various heights and bold red and purple salvia, with deep purple petunias in front. Add dahlias for intense spots of bright colour.
Low-contrast colour schemes can be both bright and calming. Whilst there is not much colour difference between purple petunias and purple ageratum, the flowers are different shapes, textures, and sizes, making an interesting pairing.
White flowers bring a cooling effect to the garden. With its spider-like flowers, white cleome provides a tall accent for the back of the border. You can choose white varieties of vinca and petunias. Low-growing alyssum looks perfect in a container garden or in the front of a border. The clean white flowers of white geranium also work well in containers.
Yellow flowers are the cheeriest of all. Dahlberg daisies, yellow daylilies, coreopsis, and black-eyed susans brighten up any landscape and mix with most other colours.
Colours from Other Sources
Flowers aren’t the only way to make a garden colourful.
A painted wall or fence can serve as a backdrop to plantings or be an eye-popping focal point. Neutral tones complement naturalistic plantings. Bright yellow or purple (or bright yellow and purple) gives a bang to an otherwise quiet garden.
It’s easy to repaint metal or wood outdoor furniture to go with your décor. Tablecloths, napkins, cushions, and glasses come in sharp colours and patterns.
Elegant plant containers with bold tones or exotic designs add lively accents to the garden. Garden wall art can serve the same purpose.
When you use furnishings to add colour to your garden design you can change the colour scheme as you wish.
For more tips on gardening and garden design, follow Sarah Williams on twitter. And have fun in your garden!
Featured Image: Agustin Rafael Reyes
Image 1: Crocus.co.uk
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