Garden Design: Color Ideas for Creating a Unified Look in Your Garden

In my previous post about the potting shed we found on Craigslist, I talk about how using a strong, bold color on small outdoor structures can really add interest to your garden design.

This is one place where it is usually safe to be whimsical and have some fun with color, especially if the structure is nicely framed by plants and trees.

Creating a polished look

Buy why stop at that one structure? Why not tie together all the major man-made elements of your garden using the same strong color?  This is a subtle way of creating a polished mood for your garden that is uniquely yours.  Let’s just call this color your “signature color.”

I chose a color I call “snappy green” for our signature color because it looks fresh and unexpected.  It’s strong enough to hold its own when the garden is colorful, in the spring and summer, and also add some interest in the dead of winter.

Potting shed with paint and new roof
Potting shed with paint and new roof

Choosing your paint color

When choosing your signature color, think about what you have going on in your garden at various times of the year.

Think about your plants, trees and flowers.  Is there already a common color theme here, maybe one that you hadn’t noticed before?  Often times, whether we realize it or not, we are attracted to the same or similar colors when buying new plants.  What color could you choose as a signature color that would really play up the colors in your garden?

 

Garden design: The bench that my father built, painted to match the potting shed
The bench that my father built, painted in our signature green

Also consider your house and how your signature color will impact your house color.  Look at the big picture and find colors that play well together.

But remember, if you have a colorful garden, you will need a strong signature color to make any kind of impact.  And don’t underestimate the power of strong neutrals like ebony.

Blend in contrasting or rustic garden elements to enhance garden design

You don’t need to paint or match every garden decoration to your signature color.  A few rustic or contrasting counterpoints soothe the eye and add interest.  For example, the container below, which matches my signature color, stands next to a rusted metal trellis.

Garden design:  Container with columnar apple tree
Garden store container with columnar apple tree

Our back patio is in close proximity to the garden shed.  Luckily, we found an off-the-rack Rustoleum spray paint color (“Eden” in satin) that closely matches the color we used on the shed, making it easy to paint and occasionally touch up the patio furniture.

Garden design:  patio furniture with signature green
Our patio furniture painted our signature green.

Unless you want a very manicured look in your garden, the goal here is very subtle – to create a certain order, or flow, in your garden using your signature color, but without the color overwhelming your landscape design.  This way you are free to bring in pieces of garden décor and create little vignettes that you enjoy even if they are not your signature color.

 

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