Elements of Garden Design: Color

Understanding the visual importance of plants

We're bring sexy back, plant style! It could happen :).

Whenever I tell clients that plants are sexy, they give me a strange look but if I say this to another gardener they grin in delight. The delight comes, no doubt, from the understanding that plants elicit a visceral reaction from people that pay close attention to them. A plant lover falls for plants, or a specific plant, because of it's characteristics. They love it's texture, it's color, it's shape, it's smell or it's very uniqueness. The same way some people are excited by intellectuals aka as sapiosexual :). That's why I feel absolutely at place calling plants sexy, it makes sense, depending on your perspective.

Making Your Landscape Design Pop

I fell for the picture above because it illustrates the importance of color. If you look closely, you will see that the designer used mass planting to glorious effect. There are in fact, only four colors used. Close observation reveals that there are only six plants as well, most of which are annuals. The only high maintenance plant is the climbing roses.

The massing of plants and contrasting colors is what makes the design pop. In this zone, the majority of the plants are annuals which will require annual replacement. Annuals can be awesome because they allow you to dress up the garden seasonally, incorporate the latest plants, reflect different moods while leaving room for experimentation. Even better, annuals are inexpensive.

Granted, color choices are completely aesthetic and one man's treasure may be garish to another. You should always consider the mood created by color and their relationship (harmony, contrast, hue) before taking off gung ho. For example, red isn't for everyone and used in large amounts can be overwhelming. An all white garden is wonderful, at night. In the daytime, it requires sufficient contrast to other plants in order to stand out. Yellow is the first color that the human eye sees, so will always grab attention from it's neighbors. Your color choice should be driven by the mood you are attempting to create. Tranquility? Happiness? Excitement? Always err on the side of simplicity for a harmonious effect.

The best gardens are designed to reflect the personality of the owners. Me? I'd love to meet the owners of this garden ;).