How to Design a Garden

Garden Color

These shastas use color to make a dramatic impact, with their bright yellow petals and dark centers.

Just as you'd think about color, texture, and form before selecting furnishings and paint for a room, you also need to consider these elements in landscape design. You'll find a wide array of options available in building materials, paving materials, types of leaves and flowers, textures of bark and shapes of trees, and even the types and colors of mulch. Are you interested in a punchy blend of contrasting colors, like rich red with mossy greens? A garden of blue flowers accented with pale yellow ones? A blast of hot-colored azaleas and bulbs in the spring? Soothing greens that last through the year? Warm earth tones? Analogous colors in careful harmony?

Use warm colors and cool colors to give the garden just the right amount of emphasis. Warm colors such as yellow, orange, and red are bold and appear visually to be closer to you than they are. This makes them ideal for a garden located farther away from your house. Cool colors such as blue and purple recede from the eye and look farther away than they really are. They make pleasant, quiet gardens close to the house, but they may be lost if placed farther away.

You can blend cool and warm colors to give a feeling of movement and depth to the garden. Color blends also provide vivid contrast, which some people find exhilarating. Analogous colors, whether warm or cool, are next to one another on a color wheel and effortlessly harmonize together. If you're not born with the kind of flair for color that lets you find unique combinations successfully, find a color theme you like and stay with it throughout the landscape. This will give your property a designed look.

In the next section, read about how carefully choosing textures and forms will further complete your well-designed garden.

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