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Color Theme Garden Ideas

Color theme garden ideas offer an elegant way to give any backyard a burst of floral beauty, united around a single shade of your choice. Many gardens rely on eye-pleasing combinations -- either bold or subtle -- of various colors of flowers, but the skillful use of only one or two hues can produce some delightful and unusual effects.

One of the most well-known color themed gardens was the renowned White Garden planned by Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle, but similar gardens may be planted on any scale, from large to small. The use of one color or a group of related tones allows the gardener to emphasize the texture and scale of different plants, and also to create some very painterly effects, as Impresssionist painter Claude Monet did in his lovely gardens at Giverny.

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As with any garden, color-theme plantings should not be over-planned. Often some of the nicest groupings are the unexpected ones. A splash of yellow from a self-sown seedling, for example, may be just the contrast needed to bring out the full effect of an all-pink or all-blue bedding scheme.

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In a setting worthy of their name and of their beauty, lovely regal lilies fill a raised stone bed with floral bounty. The colors of this planting have been chosen with great care, as they are part of an elegant color theme garden that explores shades of pink -- from palest near-white to rich rose -- with golden accents throughout: White peonies and daisies in the border beyond echo the snowy, gold-centered throats of the lilies, while pink roses match the blush of color striping the outside of each pale trumpet.

Not quite ready to pick just one color? Continue to the next page to explore color theme garden ideas based on several cooler hues, such as blue and purple.

If these color theme garden ideas have your green thumb twitching, try these for more gardening inspiration:

Transform your backyard or other garden space into a soothing respite with these cool color garden ideas. Blues, purples, and pinks are naturally relaxing hues, and the following garden photos offer an assortment of flower and planting ideas to get your cool color theme garden started.

Lavender and deep purple pillars of delphinium blooms stand out in this grand-scale garden. White regal lilies and low-growing roses in luscious shades of pink and cream complete the color scheme. A similar effect could be achieved in a much smaller space by re-creating the planting scheme for one of the island beds.

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Walls can be used as canvases to hold a vertical display of color. Here, vigorously growing climbing roses (Seven Sisters) in shades of medium pink make a lovely show against mellowed old stone walls, and they frame the window beautifully. At their feet, silver-foliaged plants, including lavender and artemisia, make a cool foil to the spherical heads of allium.

An artistic approach to tonal-themed plantings utilizes flower shapes and the growth habits of plants to emphasize the blossom colors. Here, the round, flat flower heads of pale yellow Coronation Gold achillea contrast with the lush wands of rose-colored bloom borne by Astolat delphinium, although both plants share a vertical habit of growth. The cool color garden's palette is further highlighted by the yellow accents. Nepeta, oenothera, and heuchera provide a lovely, airy foreground.

Twin examples of the classic herbaceous border flow down either side of a narrow grassy path leading to a statue in the shelter of a clipped evergreen in this cool color garden. Billowing colors of lavender, blue, pink, rose, and yellow are provided by perennials, including campanula, dame's violet, phlox, dianthus, and achillea. Annuals such as nicotiana are scattered in the mix, and the whole is framed by shrubs and roses.

Some like it hot, so if cool colors are a little sleepy for your taste, continue to the next page for color theme garden ideas to add energy with an abundance of blossoms in warm, fiery hues.

If these color theme garden ideas have your green thumb twitching, try these for more gardening inspiration:

Bring the gorgeous shades of autumn to your backyard no matter the season when you use these warm color garden ideas to design your green space. If fiery hues are your passion, explore the garden photos below for suggestions on choosing not just flowers, but also trees and shrubs to plant in your fabulous color theme garden.

Warm color accents for the garden are found not only among the ranks of annuals and perennials. Here, trees and shrubs get into the act with both flower and foliage color in an extremely sophisticated and beautifully effective display. Japanese maples provide the backdrop with leaves of deepest plum-red, gold, and chartreuse, while a rhododendron blooming in a rare shade of tangerine bridges the gap between the trees and the perennial bed in front, whose colors of green and gold match those of the maples.

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Japanese Garden, Portland, OR; Photo by Dave Gilmore.
Japanese Garden, Portland, OR; Photo by Dave Gilmore.

Carefully sculpted shrubbery with rich fuschia blossoms meets feathery purple-red Japanese maples in this warm color garden. The greens of the ground cover, as well as the other trees and shrubs, serve as a cooling counterpoint to this meticulously maintained space. Lush greenery and leaves in an assortment of sizes and textures can only enhance the vibrant shades you select for your color theme garden.

With a neutral stone wall as a backdrop, the varied greens of fir, spruce, and ivy serve once again as elegant accents to the robust shades of orange, red, and yellow highlighted in this warm color garden, which includes hardy chrysanthemums, heavy with blooms.

With the rich oranges, yellows, and red-golds of daylily blossoms, your warm color garden will literally burst forth to meet the day. Arranging the lilies in carefully planned beds along a manicured path provides clean lines and an excellent contrast to the lilies' exuberant energy.

Barbara Svoboda
Barbara Svoboda

An assortment of shapes, as well as complementing and contrasting colors, add intrigue to this warm color garden. Bright black-eyed susans with their dark centers complement round, red zinnias, and hot-purple streaks of celosia will attract everyone's eye.

Ready for your next challenge? On the next page you'll learn to explore shape, size, and texture as you create a garden with only one color of flower.

If these color theme garden ideas have your green thumb twitching, try these for more gardening inspiration:

If you have a favorite color in mind, these monochrome garden ideas are made for you. Your backyard can be a study in singularity and rich with shades and textures when a monochrome garden is your goal. In addition to blooms that may catch your eye, don't forget to consider ground cover, leaves, and other foliage on your quest to create a beautiful color theme garden.

Foliage that echoes the color of the planting scheme can become an integral part of a garden. Here, flowers and leaves together sing a single-color theme in blissful harmony. The snowy chalices of colchicums perfectly match the variegated ground cover foliage, while the frosty silver-gray of fluffy artemisia adds the finishing touch to a scene that is perfection in miniature.

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Jack (Tex) Renwall
Jack (Tex) Renwall

Delicate white tulips are accented by fluffy white flowering bushes in this light, springy monochrome garden. The gently curving pathway provides the perfect vantage point for admiring the shapes and textures, as well as the play of sunlight, in this inviting verdant space.

Christopher Hansen
Christopher Hansen

Pink azaleas are perfectly matched to blush-colored tulips in this free-flowing monochrome garden. The somewhat irregular form of the bushes is complemented by the varied heights and long, thin leaves of the tulips, giving the garden a wild, natural look and keeping maintenance to a minimum.

Robert Silverwood Hidcote
Robert Silverwood Hidcote

Once again a study in white, this monochrome garden creates a space of peace and tranquility in the backyard. Carefully cropped hedges create labyrinth-like borders, and the shading tendrils of the tree are met by the airy, silver-white branches of the shrubs. Plump white blossoms -- and even the pale-stone walkway -- complete the garden's monochrome palette, while smooth lines and feathery foliage create contrast.

©2007 JupiterImages Corporation
©2007 JupiterImages Corporation

Flowering shrubs can be used to dramatic effect, as in this monochrome garden (at right) where they create a winding rose-colored ribbon through the surrounding shades and textures of green. Larger trees mixed with assorted sizes of shrubs and plants also add interest at various levels, as well as providing some welcome shade from the summer sun. The cascading growth pattern of many of these plants means minimal trimming and pruning -- and more time for enjoying the rich, robust color.

Whether you make a particular color or flower your focus or choose a selection of warm or cool shades for your garden, these garden photos should leave you with a wealth of ideas for transforming your backyard into an engaging and exciting color theme garden you'll enjoy all season long.

If these color theme garden ideas have your green thumb twitching, try these for more gardening inspiration:

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