Winter is settling in here and although most gardens still have the lovely mellow yellow tones of autumn, it won’t be long before there is little colour around. So this seems like a good time to think about using colour in the garden and making plans for next year.
It’s easy to underestimate how much we’re affected by colour, but it can quickly create a particular atmosphere and can alter our mood, so it plays a big part in how our garden looks and how we feel about it.
Start by narrowing down the huge choice of available colour, by thinking of it as part of the whole design of a garden. What sort of atmosphere do you want, calming or energising? Then choose the colours that fits with this idea.
Blues are cool and calming and green conveys freshness and harmony. A good helping of green and white is always restful, and green is a wonderful colour to tone down other colours or when it’s used as a background for other colours.
Whereas all the shades of red through to orange are are more stimulating, conveying excitement and energy.
This is a show garden that I designed for Hampton Court, it was a place to sit if you wanted to feel energised and re-charge your batteries. I used a minimal amount of red, balanced with green plants and mellow wood.
Yellow is seen as optimistic and cheerful. It’s not a favourite colour of many people, but there are many different shades of yellow from the sharp, acid colours to the softer custard shades, so don’t rush to discount it.
These Rhododendron flowers are that lovely custard shade of yellow.
Try to have some colour all year round in the garden, so that as plants develop and fade through the seasons you’ll have a changing scene, rather than a static one.
Next time I’ll be talking about combining colours together.
all images: Jill Anderson