Use color in your garden — wisely

Use color in your garden — wisely

If you look in your closet, you might be able to tell what your favorite colors are. Have you ever thought about using your favorite colors in the planning of your backyard? Love blue? A patch of blue in a container on your patio could make your morning brighter. Love orange? Why not place a huge orange bougainvillea outside of your kitchen window? Color is the most noticeable feature in most of our yards, so why not make it a color that you love?

The color or colors you use in your landscape will set a certain mood for you and your visiting friends. I’ve touched on the idea of using the classic color wheel to help you in your gardening through the years. This circle of colors was invented in 1666 by Sir Isaac Newton and it’s still relevant today. With colors, you can create excitement or calm. With the right color combinations, you can create a feeling of elegance or playfulness or youthfulness. One color grouped into a section of your yard can be used to define an area.

The most common color wheel is 12 colors. Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered complementary, like red and green. They are best used in small doses to build excitement. Colors that are side by side on the color wheel are analogous. They are easy to combine and create calm. Analogous colors like lime green and grass green are next to one another on the color wheel. These analogous colors appear most naturally in nature and are also great to use in landscaping.

If you have a beautiful suburban neighborhood yard with vast expanses of green grass, green hedges and green trees, you may want to add in a pocket or two of color. Looking at the color wheel, adding a container of red flowers into the mix would add excitement (using colors on opposite sides of the wheel). Those homes in town that have bright red blooming roses adding life to a green yard sure do make drivers do a double-take.

Containers full of blue flowers in the midst of lots of green grass (colors next to one another on the wheel) would be beautiful as well, but more calming. As we drive around town and see the green yards with accents of charming blue plumbago, we can see the logic of this mixture. The analogous blue and green add an easy charm to many of our beautiful neighborhoods.