I’ve seen lots on social media recently about choosing colour schemes for our homes and it’s prompted me to write to a piece on colours in the garden. Whether through plants, hard landscaping, or furniture and accessories colour can be used to create particular moods and can have a powerful influence on how we respond to the environment.
Individually, colours evoke different feelings: red, for example, is vibrant and passionate; yellow is happy and fresh; blue is cool and tranquil.
I’m sure we all remember learning about the colour wheel at school – primary colours, secondary colours, etc. When choosing plants and materials for the garden, a simple colour wheel can be a useful tool to help us understand the effects different colour combinations will produce.
Colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel are known as ‘complementary colours’ – they contrast each other, creating vibrant effects. Think about bright, fresh yellow contrasted with rich, deep purple, for example.
For a more relaxing colour combination, choose colours that sit together on the colour wheel. Adjoining colours create a harmonious effect that is pleasing on the eye. Reds, oranges and yellows will create a warming effect, while purples, blues and greens are more cooling.
Consider also the different tints and shades available within each colour. When a colour is tinted with white it becomes lighter and paler. Conversely, when shaded with black, a colour becomes darker and more intense. Take orange, for example, which ranges from tints of peach, through to rich, shades of copper. Tinted colours will appear more ethereal and further away; shaded colours appear both warmer and closer.
Alternatively, a monochromatic colour palette can have striking results – cream and white flowers against green and variegated foliage can be crisp and elegant, creating a calm and tranquil feel.
When all is said and done, colour preference is very personal. The most important thing is to choose colours that will bring you joy when you look at your garden!
Photos courtesy of Pinterest