Designing a Garden for Color

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated February 15, 2023)

One of the most important elements of garden design, and arguably the single most important from an aesthetics point of view, is color. While many people may not realize it, but color always plays a role in the flowers we choose, and where we plant them. Usually though, this part of the design process goes unnoticed, or at least underutilized. Designing a garden expressly with color in mind can be extremely beneficial when creating a garden that you can be proud of. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

  • Understand the color wheel. When designing a garden for color, perhaps your most useful tool is going to be the color wheel. Understand this, and you will be able to properly plan the overall color scheme. The basic color wheel is made up of three levels of color: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow; the secondary colors are orange, violet, and green; the tertiary colors are yellow-orange, yellow-green, and blue-violet. As you can see each subsequent level of colors are made by blending the colors of the previous level.
  • Consider harmonious schemes. Harmonious color schemes are great color schemes for beginners to use. These schemes are generally centered on one specific color with a couple of different shades, tints, and tones to help accentuate that color. One example of this is how you could choose orange as the primary color for your garden, but also have plants that have red and yellow in them to help accentuate that orange color.
  • Consider contrasting schemes. A bit more complex of a color scheme is to use contrasting colors. This is a little more complex because, instead of using one color as the primary focus you are actually using two opposing colors. You can find these "opposing" colors on the color wheel pretty easy, simply choose one color and see what color is opposite it. Some examples of these colors are color combinations such as red and green, yellow and purple, and blue and orange. Just as with the harmonious schemes, don't just pick two primary colors and have that be all. Rather pick colors that are on either side of the two opposing colors as well to help balance everything out.
  • Your home should be part of the scheme. When designing your garden for color, make sure that you also consider your home. After all, the home is going to be the single largest colorful element around, so use it in your planning. One way that you can use this is to have it be the "primary" color in your design scheme, and you "balance" it out with complimentary colors as described earlier.
  • Don't forget the accessories. Just as with the plants themselves, you can use colorful accessories to help tie your garden scheme together. Using such things as benches, hammocks, gazing balls, and even decorative bird baths can help ensure that your color scheme is well coordinated and unique.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Installing a Safe in Your Home

Installing a safe in your home is a great way that you can go about protecting valuables and important paperwork. The ...

Discover More

Dealing with Wasps and Hornets

At even the best of times wasps and hornets can be such a mixed blessing that you can never tell whether they are a good ...

Discover More

Natural Lawn Care

You don't need to spend a lot of money purchasing expensive chemicals, or additives in order to take care of your lawn. ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Making an Herb Garden

Whether you live in a small apartment with no room for a garden, or a large home with plenty of back yard, you can grow ...

Discover More

Gardening in Sandy Soil

Although water moves quickly through sandy soil, washing away vital nutrients and creating air pockets at the root ...

Discover More

Chinese Gardens

If you are looking to create a garden that is both relaxing, and beautiful, then one of the best types you could plant is ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 1 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)