Now that winter has cleared and we’re in the middle of Spring, it’s the perfect time to plant your garden’s colors. It’s easy to get caught up with putting in your all your favorite colors, and your landscape ends up looking like a badly-planned rainbow – or worse: a swamp.
However, with some basic knowledge of gardening and color theory you can create a beautiful combination of plants that are bound to turn heads. Here’s what you need to do to make sure your garden stays great all year.
Most of the Layout and plants you choose will depend on the combination of colors you want your garden to have. Before getting into the technical stuff, ask yourself: Do I want my garden design to catch attention or do I want something to look at to feel relaxed? If you’re going the relaxing route, a monochromatic, green, garden with lots of foliage will serve you well, such as the following plants:
- Hosta – This type of plant has leaves that look like they’ve been painted on, with beautifully blended shades that come in green, gold, white, and blue. Apart from their looks, they’re also hardy, easy to grow, and can be split and replanted.
- Ornamental Grass – These tall and majestic grasses give your garden a semblance of flow and movement. For the warm season, the Blue Fescue is good at providing both cool blue and green tones. It loves the sun, so you don’t have to worry about finding shade. When it comes to the cool season, you can never go wrong with Calamagrostis. Its gold and green color is a nice contrast to dark areas in your landscape, and they provide excellent winter interest .
- Elephant Ears – If you want an annual to give your garden a relaxing, tropical vibe, look no further than Elephant Ears. Its big, green leaves are lovely companions to ponds and walkways in your yard.
If a monochrome scheme looks too drab for you, try experimenting with complementary and analogous color combinations. Complementary colors are the ones that sit across each other on the color wheel. Together, they create a pleasing contrast. Examples of these include red and green and blue and orange.
Analogous colors, on the other hand, are shades that are next to each other on the color wheel. Because these colors fade into each other, they give off a sense of harmony and continuity. Purple, red, and orange is an example of an analogous combination. Let’s look at the plants you can pair together to give your garden a vibrant appearance.
- Complementary – Red flowers pull off this combination with its foliage seamlessly. You can never go wrong with a classic rose bush. If you want something more eye-catching, try the contrast of Black-Eyed-Susan with purple Verbenas.
- Analogous – When it comes to this type of combination, purple is your best bet. Flowers like catmint blend nicely with cool, blue ones like Campanula. They can also be paired with amaryllis or chrysanthemums to give your landscape a warm and lively pop. It also helps to build around your foliage. If your foliage is predominantly green, add some yellow sunflowers and blue cornflowers into the mix.
As you change your garden’s colors from season to season, experiment as much as you can. Start with the safe monochrome and branch out into the more multihued combinations. Try out other themes like “split complementary,” which adds an analogous color from either side. Once you’ve mastered these combinations, the possibilities will be endless for your landscape.
The Importance of Texture
Apart from using a pleasing mixture of shades, you also need to consider the texture of the plants you’re pairing with each other. Think of it as a painting, wherein the visible strokes of the brush add as much artistic value as the colors and the subjects. Plant textures are classified as fine, medium, and coarse. And since many plants already have medium textures, let’s look at what fine and coarse ones can do for your garden.
- Fine – This texture, according to the Cornell University article “Using Texture in Flower Gardens,” often have smaller leaves and have a weightless feel to them. Fountain grass and cosmos flowers are grand at giving a wispy feel to your garden.
- Coarse – These types of plants instantly catch your eye with its large flowers and leaves. Most of the green and monochrome ones mentioned earlier, like the elephant’s ear and hosta give the landscape a hefty and tropical look.
The key to using textures is finding balance. Too much fine-textured plants can leave your landscape looking bleak and empty. Populating an area with just medium or coarse-textured ones, on the other hand, may make it look awkward and overwhelming without the more exceptional plants providing contrast.
When it comes to picking the plants you want for your garden, color and texture are only half the equation. You also need to think of bloom time to make sure your landscape grows according to your vision. Plant supplier Longfield Gardens suggests combining plants with different bloom times so you can have flowers blossoming every season. For example, you can pair begonias that bloom during early summer with hostas that blossom in midsummer, and even daffodils that bloom in the spring. Doing so creates a garden with analogous colors and continuous blooms.
Another thing you should consider is the weather here in Minnesota. The growing season is short. This is why it’s essential to invest in plants with winter interest like evergreens, Dogwoods, ornamental grasses, and the Japanese False Cypress. These kinds of plantings will last you the whole cold season and beyond.
Many things come into play when you’re planning year-round color for your garden. You have to think about combinations, textures, and bloom times to achieve that stunning look you want for your landscape. Take it as a challenge. Mess around with different themes every month or season. Highlight a single plant and build around their color and texture. Make the soil your canvas, use the tools as your brush, treat the plants as paint, and create your own green masterpiece.
Ask a Garden Design Professional for Help
There is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting your plant material. As such, hiring a landscape designer is your best bet at fulfilling your vision of a beautiful garden. Here at Landscapes Unlimited, we have extensive knowledge in selecting the best plants for your yard. We also design and build patios, outdoor structures, and irrigation systems that help make your landscape look and function better.
Contact us today to get the landscape of your dreams.