Colour theory is based on the colour wheel, the visual spectrum that shows how colours can complement or contrast with each other. Combining certain colours from the colour wheel in your garden can have different effects. So use these tips on how to plan your borders and the plants to go in them.

The colours that you choose can have an impact on the mood and atmosphere of the garden. So, depending on your garden style, you may want to select plants that have cool hues for a relaxing experience. Alternatively, you may prefer dark and dramatic planting styles in a contemporary space.

In the mix

Colours in our garden come from a huge range of materials and features. Flowers, foliage, bark, furniture, fences, artwork, water features.

These elements all join together to form our garden structure, and their colours can have an impact on the overall feel and look of the space.


Analogous architecture


Create a harmonious design by opting for colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. For instance, red and yellow or yellow and green.

Mix red snapdragons with yellow rudbeckias for a bold planting scheme.

Opposites attract

On the colour wheel you can choose colours that lie directly opposite to each other to create a striking combination.

For example, purple and yellow or red and green. Also, you could use these pairs as accent plants, such as a couple of purple flowers in a bed of yellow or vice-versa.


Buffer zone


Pale tones such as white, cream, grey and silver can be used as buffers between more dominant and darker colours. This can help to break up the space rather than making it look too bold and busy.

Within gardening, certain colours can be used that won’t have a drastic impact on the overall design. Neutral tones such as white, black, silver, grey and shades of brown and green can be used to tone down other colours or act as a cushion between other colours that may clash.

Contrasting contenders

Colours that are spaced at equal intervals of the colour wheel work best in groups of three. So, red, blue, and yellow work well, whilst purple, green, and orange do too. This technique forms a triad of colours that’s sure to make an impact.

Rather than filling your borders with each and every colour which can lead to a busy looking space, use a dominant theme colour and work around it.




Instead of using the whole colour wheel or different sections of it, you could focus on one small segment. For example, choose a single colour and use tints and tones of that colour to create a monochrome design, with darker and lighter areas as you see fit.

With our busy lifestyles, we may end up seeing our gardens at night more than we do in the day. Therefore, it is a great idea to incorporate white flowers and plants that will shine in the garden during twilight hours.

Utilise the colour wheel to plan your beds and borders for a garden that’ll make an impact. Whether you want bold planting schemes or a cool, pastel planter, choose the right combination to suit your space. Let me know what your favourite colour combinations are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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