Using Colour Theory in Garden Landscaping

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Colour plays an integral role when landscaping a garden design. Colour can be the most important element to consider in achieving a garden which is pleasing on the eye, working alongside combinations of textures, lines, forms and scale to give you your ideal garden space. 

When planning your garden, you should consider how colours from the plants will work in the garden as a whole, in specific areas such as borders and in tandem with existing features like walls and trees. To this end employing colour theory can help you achieve your landscaping designs.

Image by rikkerst from Pixabay

What is Colour Theory?

The colours you select for your garden should ultimately be the ones you like, the colours you will take joy from while gardening. Colour theory uses the relationship between colours of the spectrum to help guide you on how groups of colours may work best together. 

By using primary, secondary, tertiary and neutral colours you can use combinations of colour to produce the effects you are looking for in your garden. These effects may be based around elements such as focal points, moods and depth perception. Harmony in a colour scheme can create a balanced environment which is pleasing on the eye.

Cool and Warm Colours

Colours of the spectrum are often divided into warm and cold colours when considering landscaping a garden design. 

Examples of warm colours are red, orange and yellow, while blue, purple and green are considered cool colours. Warm colours are associated with focal points, colours which grab your attention, energising and invigorating the space they occupy. 

Cooler colours are more relaxing and tranquil, restoring calm and a feeling of intimacy to the garden.

Depth Perception

Using a combination of warm and cool colours in your planting is a good way to make a space feel larger, ideal for smaller garden plots. Start off with warmer reds or oranges nearer the house and then add cooler colours behind, starting with darker purples before gradually lightening the colour as you go down the garden. 

Similar to using large plants giving way to smaller plants, this combination of cool and warm colour planting provides the perception of a larger garden space.

Benefits of Cool and Warm Colour Planting

As cooler colours are associated with calm and tranquillity, plants such as blue hydrangeas or dark iris are ideal for meditation or Zen gardens. Another benefit of cool coloured plants is they can be more resonant as the sun starts to go down, helping to keep shady parts of the garden brighter for longer. 

The bold, warm colours of plants including red tulip, orange nasturtium and orange lilies provide a splash of colour to draw the eye. This works well in exciting the senses when placed around the garden and to draw the eye away from a less visually appealing feature of the garden, such as an old building or fence.

Our landscape team at Glorious Gardens is happy to discuss these ideas in planning your garden. If you’re considering a “re-do” of your outdoor space, we invite you to call us. We will brainstorm to find the right blend of elements to suit your tastes, your budget and your space.


By |2021-06-03T11:21:53+01:00August 18th, 2020|Articles, Blog, Flowers, Grasses|Comments Off on Using Colour Theory in Garden Landscaping

About the Author:

In 2006 I formed Glorious Gardens, gathering together skilled practitioners to offer not just design but implementation of these designs and maintenance packages where we could look after the gardens once we had created them. Throughout my career I have designed gardens to inspire people with the heart aching beauty of nature, with shapes, colours, moods and proportions to pleasure the body and calm and delight the mind. I am also an artist who works with colour and abstract shapes and I bring this sensitivity to the 4 dimensions of a garden. I am very good at listening to clients and I’m able to draw out the essence of what a client wants for their outdoor space.