Colour: Basic design principles

28th February 2022

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Colour has a huge impact on style and ambience. It is really important to get it right in terms of the expectations you have on your garden and what mood you want to create <find out more>

What are the options?

  • NEUTRAL – colours that can be used with any other colour without changing the effect that you are trying to achieve
  • MONOCHROMATIC – a single colour scheme
  • POLYCHROMATIC- a mixture of two of more different colours
  • ANALOGOUS – groups of three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel

Planting Tips

  • When planning your borders always choose a selection of plants that flower at different times through the year so there’s always something colourful to enjoy.
  • Plant taller growing autumn flowering varieties behind low growing summer ones so they’ll grow up above them once summer displays fade away.
  • A small group of, say, three plants of one variety often looks more impressive than choosing three different things.
  • Repetition works well in garden design. If you have a favourite plant then include several groups of it to help link different areas of the garden together.
Bright colours draw attention and make spaces seem smaller. If you have a large space and you would like to make it seem smaller use bright reds, oranges, and yellows in the distance. This will make the planting seem closer to you. Bright colours are also great for drawing attention to areas you would like to highlight, for instance: a front entrance, featured flower beds, seating areas, or artwork. Bright colours add a festive feeling and put you in a party mood. They are good next to the patio or a deck where people tend to gather for entertainment.

While white functions as a neutral in the garden, it also serves another purpose. White glows when you view the garden early in the morning, during the evening and at night. With busy lives, many of us view our gardens less during the day and more often during twilight hours. If you will be using your garden often after dark be sure to include a healthy dose of white flowers and silver foliage. These plants will show well in the evening.

For most borders, start with the principle of the front, middle and back row, where you have three different height requirements: tallest at the back, shortest at the front. Next choose three perennials for each row which flower at different times of the year and repeat these in groups of three or five plants, making sure they are not in lines but groups.

In gardening, green also functions as a neutral. Neutral colours will tend to tone down the other colours in a bed and can be used as a buffer between two plants that might otherwise clash.

All this being said…if you want to mix every different colour together, paint your fences like a rainbow and if it all clashes, even better, then go for it! It is your garden and it should bring you joy.

If all this leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed then our home visit Consultancy Service is just what you need. Find out more <click here>