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Choosing Colour & Effect Creations for Your Garden

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by shanbear on May 30, 2006 11:17 AM
The colours you choose for your garden change the look of your home, either indoors or outdoors.... Just some friendly suggestions to add a splash of colour and to create your perfect aura or effect ....

Note: If you're not too familiar with coordinating colours, using the aid of a colour wheel is a huge help. Pictures should be available for you to view online should you need a visual.

Using colours can create an effect, aura and mood from calm to vibrate and everything in between, here are a few colour tips I like to use:

Colours adjacent (or neighboring) to each other create a Harmonious effect:

  • Greens and purples create a very restful, peaceful and calm effect.

  • Gathering whites, blues, soft pinks and soft purples will create a subtle and soothing effect.


  • Yellows and reds create a stimulating, exciting and warm effect.

  • Gathering oranges, reds and golds together will create a hot intense, vibrant effect.

Remember, if there is a particular effect that you love, keeping within the same effect is ideal; mixing too many different effects together might run the risk of your garden becoming too "Busy" or "Cluttered" ultimately taking away from the whole space you wanted to create.

[flower] I love colours; they create moods, auras and "moments" you can capture in a flower or your ENTIRE garden, I hope these tips will help! Take Care & Happy Colouring! [flower]

Shanbear [Love]
by melcon6 on May 30, 2006 12:14 PM
Thank you , Shanbear, for the color suggestions! I do love the "hot" exciting color combos of reds, yellows, and orange! [thumb]

Another combo I love is blue with maroon, very cool!

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by weezie13 on May 30, 2006 02:02 PM
I love the lime green colors of plants..
*like the sweet potato vine..I think it's called
the 'Margarita' one....*
Very cool lookin'..
or should I say, Vibrant..

And I love different sized leaves or shapes..

Caladiums are a neat combo..
A neat leaf and some pretty neat colors too...

Orange is another color I like too,
it's not as common as the others...

This is a neat post, Shanbear!!!!

* * * *

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by joclyn on May 30, 2006 02:59 PM
great post...especially since i'm not pleased with the bed in the front of the house and have been trying to think of what to do with it!!

i decided to focus on my fav color - kind of easy to do since almost everything i already have is that color.

that would be purple.

i have a couple of things in that bed that are pink or red as well as the purple stuff...also a touch of white.

i decided to go with all purple and a touch of white - maybe a splash of one other color as well.

i'm open for suggestions tho and i hope this thread takes off...might give me some ideas.

shanbear, you're absolutely correct about how color can give an impression as well as that too much color can detract from what you intended for the space.

weezie brings up another good point...textures. they can make or break a flower bed too! altho the wrong combo will affect you like nails on a chalk board, the correct balance will be very inviting/calming.

that's where i'm having problems with that bed at the moment...not enough textures and they don't blend; the color balance is off. plus, what's there didn't fill in over the years like i thought it would so it looks barren and uncared for...
by chenno on May 30, 2006 03:01 PM
I too Love the color combo's
My fav is Purples,yellows and whites.
and blues,fushcia,burgendy...hmmmm
oh, wait...pinks, greens, ahhhh all of them:-)
But, I do use the color wheel,when I mix colors to paint;-)
Happy Gardening

* * * *
Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.
by tkhooper on May 30, 2006 10:30 PM
Yep right now I have a mishmash of colors and it doesn't work to give any kind of coordinated look to the garden. I have been working on just keeping things alive and planting them where they will survive (i.e. the right amount of light) rather than going for form.

This is my second growing season gardening and now that everything I plant doesn't die I'm ready to start trying for a better looking garden. I'm interested in a specimen type garden where I have a few of many many different plants. And I love the colors of yellow, orange, and red so those are the flowers I try for.

Something else that I am trying to achieve is having something in bloom all three seasons. So far the shade garden is doing very well with that but the sunny side of the garden has just had it's first bloom this week. A sun flower.

Then there is the need for them to be drought tolerant for the most part because I have to hand water.

And they need to be able to handle a great deal of clay; because, I am planting on a clay slope.

It's had to manage to consider everything and still stay with the color choices I want. But I'm working on it. With time I'm sure I'll get it right.

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by shanbear on June 01, 2006 10:54 AM
Melcon6: I have to admit, when I saw your suggestion to the another colour combo that you liked- the blue with maroon- I was quick to write that down. It creates an effect of sophistication to me! While the blues are very soothing and subtle, adding a touch of maroon will give such a unique distinction! ( Lol. Fun remembering technique… “3 S’s! Soothing, Subtle, and Sophisticated! That’s Melcon’s trick to Maroons & Blues!”) Wonderful suggestion! [thumb]

Weezie13: Ah yes! Margarita Sweet Potato; beautiful Ivy or Heart shaped leaves, a lime green/ mint colour. Very vibrant and eye catching! Incorporating shapes and colours in a garden is quite an art form; and your suggestion to Caladiums was superb! Absolutely the perfect suggestion to a gardener wanted to combine a textured & coloured leaf! Orange is one of my favorite colours too, Weezie, you’re right- it’s uncommon and very unique. I always admire gardeners who incorporate such a colour into their garden. And thank you for the kind comment, this post was a lot of fun to write up!

Joclyn: Purple... alike to Melcon6’s post; purple is another very soothing and subtle colour- you said “maybe a splash of one other colour as well” may I suggest adding something to punch up that extra colour you’re hunting for? Trust me, it is quite easy! Something to keep in mind is that colours flow; a harmonizing effect as mentioned in my original post. Harmonizing colours to purple can flow as follows:

Purples --> Blues --> Deep Reds --> Light Reds --> Pinks --> to Whites...

This way, Joclyn, you’re incorporating your favorite colour of purple and its soothing effect you seem to like, but taking it up a notch and turning your garden into one of your very own! Purple and white create a very classic feel- think if the word “rich” had a colour, this is what purple and white would create. But to take your purples and to put them next to reds (either deep or light) or even a subtle pink is adding your very own special touch of “class” to your garden.

The idea to that flow I mentioned above is that you can pick any colour that is your favorite and add something that would “Contrast” it... but sticking within the same range. I believe adding reds or subtle pinks would add a classy, elegant look your your already soothing effect! I hope this suggestion helps!

One thing I would like to quickly add, Joclyn is your comment on “plus, what’s there didn’t fill in over the years like I though it would so it looks barren and uncared for...” I would suggest just this, taken directly from The Garden Helper...

"Perennials, like old friends return year after year, growing in size and stature until they reach their full maturity. Although they live on longer, many perennials lose their vigor after 3-4 years, and should be replaced. Most perennial plants may be divided to produce new plants, or they may be grown from seeds or cuttings."

May I suggest a makeover? This might be the perfect opportunity to start fresh and new. Just a thought.

…and Joclyn, another thing I have to admit (guilt as charged!) is your post really brought up some important points I think all gardeners reading these posts would appreciate seeing…

TEXTURES- a balance of textures, I believe is just as important to colour effects... May I suggest the Caladiums, Weezie had brought up and maybe some Common Morning Glory, Ipomoea purpurea and/or some Periwinkle (Creeping Myrtle,) Vinca minor ? Both flowers can and will keep with your purples you like and using a leaf plant such as Caladiums will definitely add the texture PLUS the colour (hitting them both with one stone!) Just another suggestion, good luck!

by shanbear on June 01, 2006 11:20 AM
Chenno: Isn’t a colour wheel a phenomenal tool to use? Being a painter myself, incorporating colours into my garden is just as important as incorporating colours on my painting pallet. May I ask what colour effects, if any, that you have in your garden? You have such a love of all the colours that you might have a colour combo that might spark a fellow gardeners interest... [flower]

Tkhooper: I completely understand how you were feeling as I read your post. I’m a Zone 3b and there are flowers and plants I would LOVE to plant in my garden that my climate just won’t allow... similar to your clay soil problem... some flowers and plants are just hard to grow with certain conditions.

May I suggest the following? It was an answer I received when I have asked the same question in the past...

Clay- a common situation amongst a lot of gardens. Although some gardeners get discouraged with the sight of Clay or Clay Loam in their garden, Clay can be quite productive if utilized properly.

Think one thing: ORGANIC COMPOST! Mushroom Compost has been suggested to me – supposedly available from Mushroom Growers that can be found in your Yellow Pages. Mushroom Compost to my understanding has lime within it, a wonderful component to add to clay. Another suggestion was 6X or a similar “breakdown” compost- this suggestion would be all the goodness you’d find in your friendly, neighborhood farmyard [Wink] Think manure! [grin]

See which flowers and plants grow best in your zone, coordinate with the effect you like the most (stimulating, exciting & vibrant- your yellows, reds and oranges you like), and don’t forget that organic compost! Your garden should be bursting with colour in no time even with Clay Soil! Remember, gardening is a peaceful experience, while Clay Soil can be difficult and you’d rather deal without it, your garden will be THAT much more enjoyable knowing it grew with true TLC!

by tkhooper on June 01, 2006 11:24 AM
Thankyou for your encouragement. I'll keep plugging away at it. I do love the gardening experience.

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by shanbear on June 02, 2006 08:08 AM
Not a problem, Tk. When I find anything or know of anything from experience that I feel others will be interested in knowing, I will for sure post. Happy Gardening! [gabby]
by joclyn on June 02, 2006 08:40 AM
thanks, shanbear, for your suggestions!

i was thinking that for the 3rd color i might go with pink - a pale shade would be a nice offset. then there's the orange daylily - i've got that in the back garden next to the purple coneflower and that'a a REALLY nice combo! (i don't even like orange, either!) don't know what i'm going to do yet...

and yes, perennials are the way to go...some of what i have has just gotten to a point where it's grown enough for me to be able to split and spread them out a bit. so that's what i'll be doing this year.

tk, i too am looking at the bloom would be nice to have a continuing display of flowers over the course of the season. the foilage is always nice...that extra splash of color late in the season just makes it really sing, tho!

when it comes to number of colors, i heard, a long ago, to keep it to a minimum - no more than three as any more and your body kind of goes on overload...

so, everything is some shade of green...that's the base and then the flowers are the color...pick one as a mainstay and then two more to work with. the mainstay should be throughout the area (for flow and continuety).

if you want more variety of colors, blend them in at the edges of the area.

for example:

yellow, orange, white

yellow, orange, red

yellow, orange, pink

you can also manipulate your color scheme by adding in additional colors that would bloom later in the season - say, for example, after the orange is gone, you could have something that is lavendar in that area. and when the pink is gone from the other end, something white there, maybe.

heya, you're just in your second year...cut yourself a break!! [Wink] it takes time to get things just right!! i've been working on this for 6 years now, and i'm STILL not done!!

the only reason my back yard looks so nice is because a neighbor moved and, as repayment for helping out during a rough situation they had, i was given all the bushes and flowers. they weren't taking them with them and they knew the new owner was just going to rip everything out...

just got lucky...even still, i don't like how everything is placed...that texture thingy again [Wink]
by shanbear on June 06, 2006 07:42 AM

You are absolutley right on the "keeping colours to a minimum" comment. Too many colours can make your garden become too cluttered and messy... but once everyone gets a grasp on the whole colour pallet (colour wheel) concept, realizing one primary colour comes several other neighbouring colours....all works in harmony. Keep us posted with pictures; it'll be nice to see your garden.
by shanbear on June 06, 2006 07:45 AM

"just got lucky...even still, i don't like how everything is placed...that texture thingy again"

Lol... time cures all! One step at a time- mastering colour then the texture. Gardening truly is an art!

Take Care!

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