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Gardens with too much variety can feel overwhelming and look cluttered. Sticking to a color scheme for a planting gives a garden a balanced, put-together look and can help you avoid impulse purchases at the nursery. It's up to personal taste, but limiting the number of different colors to a maximum of five can be a helpful principle. While this might appear constraining, adopting a more disciplined approach to plantings can harmonize the appearance and feel of your garden without having to sacrifice plant variety.
Select a plant palette with the help of a landscape designerLauren Dunec Design 1. Cheerful and Inviting
Color palette: moderate blue-green, light green, bright orchid, eggshell, deep violet
Evoke the look of Monet's garden in Giverny with a watercolor palette of pink, blue, purple, green and soft yellow. Pastels feel fresh and harmonious in the garden, transitioning smoothly from one hue that is soft the next. Just like the first blooms in springtime, pastel color palettes feel cheerful and inviting — making them a great choice for entryway and yard plantings.
Pastel color palettes can include all hues in the color wheel in muted tones. Including a couple of plants in a more saturated color — like a dark green-leaved shrub or deep purple perennial — are able to keep a pastel color scheme from searching washed out.Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC In this woodland garden outside of Boston, landscape designer
Matthew Cunningham banked the beds with pastel blooms combined with plants which have silver to medium foliage that is green. Here we see white peonies, dark purple ‘May Night' sage (Salvia ‘May Night'), lavender-pink ‘Globemaster' alliums (Allium ‘Globemaster'), silver-leaved Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina) and evergreen inkberry (Ilex glabra).Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC Concentrating on blues and purples in a pastel palette creates a calmer and more tranquil feel than pastel schemes that include yellows and pinks. In the garden that is same catmint (Nepeta sp.) blends with dark purple ‘May evening' sage, lavender-pink ‘Globemaster' allium and lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis) for a calming walkway planting.Chris Snook This event garden in London's Chelsea Flower Show has an inviting pastel flower edge surrounding a leafy sitting area.Chris Snook Tall surges of pink and pale lavender foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) and light pink peonies (Peony ‘Elsa Sass') offer punctuations of pastel color amidst the verdant boundaries.
How exactly to produce a GardenLauren that is cottage-Style Dunec 2. Dramatic and Energizing
Color palette: Pomegranate, dark purple, yellow ochre, periwinkle blue, medium gray-green
High-contrast jewel-toned color palettes command attention, making eye-catching border displays that stand out on the block. Gardens in this rich color palette shine all 12 months but are specially dramatic in belated summer and fall, as soon as the profoundly saturated tones complement the red, orange and amber leaves of woods changing color.Bliss Garden Design, LLC Gardens making use of jewel-toned color palettes benefit from tones opted for from contrary sides of this color wheel (like orange and blue or yellow and violet). Combining plants with foliage or flower colors in closely complementary hues makes each color stand out in contrast to its neighbors. For example, in this seaside garden by Bliss Garden Design on Bainbridge Island, Washington, dark purple ‘Caradonna' sage (Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna') and cool blue ‘Little Titch' catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Little Titch') set off bright orange California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) planted close by.Bliss Garden Design, LLC In another shot of the same garden, yellow-flowering Turkish sage (Phlomis russeliana) grows sandwiched between dark purple ‘Caradonna' sage in the foreground and dark red barberry (Berberis sp.) in the background.Le jardinet In this planting by Le jardinet, a jewel-toned planting duo of fiery orange Mardi Gras' sneezeweed (Helenium ‘Mardi Gras') and dark plum ninebark foliage (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo') creates a punchy, high-contrast display.Inspired Garden Design In a mixed floral border in a garden near Sheffield, England, Inspired Garden Design used an engaging color palette of gold and bright orange avens (Geum spp.), and dark crimson and pale purple pincushion flowers (Scabiosa rumelica syn. Knautia macedonica). The effect that is overall like a sprinkling of bright jewels over a dark backdrop (the green foliage).Lauren Dunec Design 3. Cool and Serene
Color palette: Leaf green, light sage, white, deep blue, sky blue
As calming as puffy white clouds moving throughout the sky or a sailboat in the water, planting palettes composed of blue and white blossoms set the tone for a tranquil landscape. To keep beds looking clean and crisp, discipline with all the color scheme is key. Select blooms in clear shades of blue so when close to true white as you can find, and mix them with plenty of evergreen foliage.Austin Ganim Landscape Design, LLC In this backyard in Westport, Connecticut, landscape designer Austin Ganim used a mix of white- and blue-flowering bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), medium blue veronica, pale purple-blue catmint (Nepeta sp.) and white roses.Austin Ganim Landscape Design, LLC The blue-and-white palette continues in the beds by the pool, with more blue- and white-flowering bigleaf hydrangeas and a pale white variegated ornamental grass behind the white chaise lounges. The pool's smooth surface reflects the sky, bringing more blue into the landscape.Liquidscapes In a garden by Liquidscapes in New York, clear bloom that is lavender-blue of Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) mix with abundantly flowering white bigleaf hydrangeas and evergreen boxwood (Buxus sp.). The planting trio forms a peaceful garden scene.