The experts are unanimous: colour gives life to a garden, giving it a special atmosphere. A colour can soothe the mind or create excitement, but it rarely leaves you indifferent. Colours can be an incomparable way of expressing yourself. And, as with interior design, you can use colours boldly or with subtlety.

Of course, colours are not always the same in a garden. They change with the weather and from one season to another.

How to use colours in the garden

As colour is a very important element in a landscape, it is essential to know how to use it. Here are some ideas that will help you grasp the subtleties of colour composition. To achieve a harmonious combination, we use shades that are close to each other on the colour wheel.

If you wish to create contrasts, you associate opposite colours. The strongest contrasts are obtained by combining exactly opposite colours, such as red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

Let nature inspire you

Remember that nature is an excellent source of inspiration when you come to choose colours in the garden. Why not, for instance, try to recreate the atmosphere of a place you have visited and that you particularly enjoyed? Remind yourself that what is acceptable or not in a colour composition is as personal a matter as how you decorate a room. Don’t be frightened of experimenting, it’s by far the best way to find out what suits you best. You will then be able to create unexpected effects that you would never have discovered through a purely theoretical approach.

Warm colours and cold colours

Warm colours include reds, oranges, yellows, pinks and deep mauves. Cold colours include blues, greens, whites and pale pinks.

Both groups have their uses:

  • the warm colours are stimulating and attract attention;
  • while the cold colours are calmer.

This classification is basic but it is very useful when looking at how to play with colours in a garden.

The Right Plant in the Right Place and choosing colours in the garden

Using our advanced search engine, you can make a colour selection of perennials from our catalogue: blue, yellow, pink, etc.

The Right Plant in the Right Place, advanced search

For further reading, we recommend the excellent book by Piet Oudolf ‘Designing with Plants’