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Which Colours Should You Choose for Your Garden’s Planting Design?

Colour plays a key role in garden design – but how should you decide on the colour theme for your outdoor space? Of course, which tones to highlight will be guided by your own taste, but there are also various other factors to consider.

At Compass Garden & Landscape Design, we offer a planting consultancy service to gardeners in Bath, Bristol, Wiltshire and across the South West. This means not only choosing plants which will thrive in your garden’s conditions, but also styles and colours which will enhance your outdoor space.

There is a strong contemporary trend to pick just one or two key colours as themes for a garden, or for specific areas within a larger garden. However, many gardeners prefer a wider variety of colours, for instance in a cottage-style design. If you do decide on to limit your colours, choosing plants with different heights and textures can add interest and variety.

Complementary and Contrasting Shades

If you want to choose shades which go well together, you can do this by looking at a colour wheel, covering the spectrum. Colours which appear next to one another, such as yellows and oranges or blues and violets, are harmonising shades and will go together well. Alternatively, be adventurous by selecting contrasting colours from the opposite side of the wheel – for example, purples and yellows can complement each other well.

Another consideration is to design for colour through the year, bearing in mind which plants will come into bloom at different times – although this isn’t always exact, as it can depend on weather conditions and other factors.

Here is a look at some of the most popular colours to feature in a garden planting design. We can advise you on which shades will tone well, and create a planting design featuring your chosen colours. Of course, many flowers and shrubs come in a whole range of colours, and the greens of their foliage are also very varied.

Cool and Hot Garden Colours

White: A garden dominated by white flowers and green foliage has a lovely cool, sophisticated feel. White and green gardens are very popular at the moment, and often include touches of grey and silver, because many people want to make their outdoor space calming, creating an oasis where they can relax. White flowers help to light up shady areas, and many have beautiful scents.

You could also continue the theme with light-coloured paving and white walls, fences or garden ornaments. Popular white flowers include spring bulbs such as snowdrops, narcissi and crocuses, summer lilies, and shrubs like magnolias, camellias and wisteria, but there are also many more unusual choices to consider.

Blue and Violet: Blue is another cool and calming colour. It can also help to make a smaller garden look larger, especially if you plant blue, purple and violet flowers at the rear of your beds, as blue appears to recede away from the onlooker. Blue and violet flowers go well planted together with purples and pinks. As well as traditional bluebells, cornflowers, violets and forget-me-nots, other attractive blue flowers include the popular summer bulb Agapanthus, delphiniums and the blue Himalayan poppy Meconopsis – but again, there is a huge list of blue flowers available.

Pink: There are many different shades of pink in the floral world, some warmer and others cooler. This is the colour associated with traditional cottage gardens, and it looks great mixed in with other pastel shades, or used sparingly in a mainly white area, as well as harmonising well with brighter reds. A huge number of flowers and shrubs come in pink, from hydrangeas to sweet peas and lilies, while Japanese cherry blossom trees and Judas trees have become increasingly popular too.

Red, Orange and Yellow: These are the hottest colours in the spectrum, and have lots of impact, giving your garden a vibrant feeling. These colours also attract the eye, so they can make particular areas of your garden stand out, and they go well in Mediterranean gardens, which are a strong current trend. Some gardeners see orange as too loud and obtrusive, but others love it – and of course it’s entirely up to you whether to include it in your design. Dahlias, zinnias, Red Hot Pokers, African marigolds and sunflowers are just a few of the flowers in these warm, bright shades – not forgetting red roses.

At Compass, via our planting consultancy service, we can source plants which will do well in your garden and make a strong visual impression. As well as colour schemes, we will also bear in mind which plants will grow well alongside one another, and factors such as which areas of your garden receive the biggest amount of light.

Based in Bradford on Avon, we work in areas including Bath, Bristol, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Somerset and across the South West. To find our more about Compass Garden and Landscape Design , follow the link.