Five Tips for Incorporating Color into Your Landscaping Design

Beautiful property landscapes are rarely random acts of nature. They are the result of careful planning. Thoughtful gardeners create unity and coherence; highlight a focal point or two; balance their color schemes, plantings and other features; and try to maintain an eye-pleasing rhythm across the yard. An understanding of the color wheel and the diversity of common blooming plants, shrubs and trees is also very useful. The good news is that with a few helpful guidelines you can create an amazing, colorful landscape around your home or property. The follow tips will help:

1. Think about what kind of impression you want to create with your landscaping. This is the planning stage. Do you want your plantings to be a powerful attention-getter? If so, consider bright red and yellow combinations. Red adds energy and excitement and yellow speaks of sunshine and friendliness. Together, these two colors can make a powerful statement. They’re also very seasonal. You can easily combine cheery red and yellow tulips to welcome spring and yellow black-eyed Susan plants with stately red dahlias in the heat of summer. On the other hand, if you want your yard to represent a cool retreat, blues, purples, pinks and variegated greens can convey your intentions. White is always a wonderful filler color to mix into any color scheme.

2. Create unity and coherence in your landscaping design. The easiest way to do this is to choose one dominant color and sprinkle it in small plantings around the yard. You may or may not use the same flower each time, but you should repeat the same color here, there and everywhere. Although perennials are more expensive initially, they will reproduce and can be divided over time. You can also consider supplementing with repeat plantings of annuals such as purple petunias, yellow marigolds or rust-colored fall mums.

3. By multiplying the colors of your flowers, you can draw attention to a special feature or focal point in your yard. The eye is naturally drawn to a profusion of different hues. You can even mix heavy plantings of light pastels in with lesser plantings of more intense colors. Add some climbers and stagger the heights of different flowering plants to increase the vertical interest. Perhaps you want to hide an unsightly fence, pole or similar distraction. Not only can you plant flowers or greenery there to hide the ugliness, but you can also design colorful flower beds in other areas to draw the eyes away to the more attractive parts of your yard.

4. The traditional color wheel is a safe and applicable guide to choosing the most pleasing color combinations. For example, pairing those colors that lie as opposites on the wheel will create an immediate, complementary color scheme. You might combine red and green and use variegated coleus to bridge the two shades. Other popular choices are orange with blue or yellow with violet. Once again, white can be added as a lovely neutral. A monochromatic color scheme can make a powerful statement of its own. It will include various shades and intensities of just one dominant color. You might plant pinks, light reds, dark reds and maroons together.

5. Learn the heights and colors of your favorite plants, shrubs and trees. Flowering crepe myrtle trees, cherry trees, Japanese dogwoods, Japanese red maples and magnolias can also add color to your landscape design. Even lowly shrubs can offer beautiful blooms before they assume their summer greenery. Discover which plants love the sun and which prefer the coolness of the shade.

Ultimately, landscaping is a matter of personal taste. Learn as much as you can and then feel free to experiment with a variety of plants. If something isn’t working well in one place, you can always transplant it. Gradually increase your perennials so that your yard becomes less labor-intensive. Creating a beautiful, landscaped yard is always a work in progress, but it can also be great therapy for the soul.