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Color is one of the great tools when developing a landscaping idea. It’s known to create various psychological effects and can also be used to manipulate space.

Color Effects Mood

Bright warm colors in a landscape design such as the reds, oranges, hot pinks and yellows of zinnias stir …

… excitement.

Warm colors also will appear closer and make a space feel smaller.

Using soft cool colors such as lavenders, greens and blues of flowers such as hydrangeas and lilacs help us to feel …

… restful and calm.

They will give the feeling of distance and enlarge spaces.

When thinking of color for your landscape design plan, be sure to take into account:

  • The changing look that the different seasons will bring.
  • The brightness of your light (in sunny areas, color will wash out)
  • Colors should be viewed in association with the other colors in surrounding areas around them.
  • The color of the exterior of your home. We’ve accented the dark stain of our cedar-sided home with bright colored zinnias, Black-eyed Susan’s and hot pink and yellow lantanas.
  • And don’t forget about your ideal garden vision. If you envisioned bright colored roses as part of your landscaping idea then – go for it!

Color Schemes

There are three possibilities for color schemes. Each of these approaches to the use of color in a landscape design plan will create a different feeling in your garden.

  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous
  • Complementary

See our Garden Color Scheme section to discover your personal color scheme.

We’ll be talking about a concept called the color wheel as we describe the following schemes. Most stores that sell art supplies will sell them if you would like to have one on hand.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

In a landscape design plan that use this color scheme, color is used very sparingly and the only real change is in the color green. The effect that is achieved is one of …

… calmness.

Each plant has leaves that are slightly different greens. Occasionally over the seasons, flowering plants give brief color to the landscape. These are contrasts to the green.

Jananese Maple Tree - Color Focal Point

One of our favorite ways of bringing drama to an all green landscape is to add a single Japanese maple that gives a brilliant color of red for a few weeks in the fall.

The white garden landscaping idea is an example of this color scheme. In such a place, all the plants have white flowers for a striking, yet peaceful ambiance to space.

Monochromatic color schemes are used often in the tranquil Asian gardens, but you can use it with any landscape design plan where you wish to achieve a serene atmosphere.

Analogous Color Schemes

In this case, colors close to each other on a color wheel are grouped together so they seem to have a sense of belonging to each other.

An example of this landscaping idea would be a large group of hydrangeas that are white, off white, pink, and light lavender which appear to drift together in a similar flow.

Analogous colors, like monochromatic schemes, help to give gardens a feeling of …

… calmness.

This is also a great tool to create unity in your garden.

Complementary Color Schemes

These schemes seem to be the most well-liked. They are the colors that are opposite each other in the color wheel: oranges with blues, reds with greens, and yellows with violets.

The old saying “opposites attract” applies with this landscaping idea because there is such contrast to the colors (kind of like women who are from Venus and men who are from Mars).

This landscaping idea can produce more dazzling responses depending on the brightness of the colors chosen.

So that’s the basics on the use of color for your design. But color isn’t enough for a beautiful garden. You’ll need to know how to use...

read on . . .