What is a Color Garden?

Susan Grindstaff

In landscaping design, the term color garden is used to describe a garden that attempts to overwhelm the eye with the use of color. This is sometimes accomplished by planting flowers that bloom in many different colors, or by planting a garden with blooms of one singular color. For instance, one popular method is planting flowers that have only white blooms. The types of flowers used in a color garden are not particularly relevant, except in the color of their blooms.

A color wheel shows the hues of single colors, along with complementary colors.
A color wheel shows the hues of single colors, along with complementary colors.

Some landscape artists who design color gardens involving many different colors choose colors and blooms that complement one another. A garden of this type might appeal to those who appreciate attention to detail and order. An example of this type of garden would be plantings that reflected earth tones, with flowers blooming in deep russet, gold, and ivory. Another example would be a garden reflecting the colors of a flag. For the United States, for instance, flowers would be planted with blooms in red, white, and blue.

Other multi-colored garden designs may exhibit an explosion of color, with no attempt to coordinate hues or sizes of blooms. These color gardens often create a wild and natural environment. A color garden of this type usually attempts to recreate the profusion of color that might be found in a meadow of wildflowers or a lush tropical landscape. This type of garden is usually easier to design because there are many more choices in terms of plant type and bloom color.

For those who want a garden that is easy on the eye, and creates an atmosphere of serenity, a good choice might be a single-color garden design. There are usually two methods used to create this type of garden: using the exact same color repeatedly or using differing hues of a single base color. For instance, if blue is chosen as the base color, flower with blooms in different hues of blue could be added to the garden.

For those who want to plant a single-hued color garden, it is probably a good idea to first experiment with a color wheel. A color wheel exhibits all the different hues of a single color. It might be a good idea to take the color wheel along while shopping for flowering plants. Using a color wheel as a reference may ensure that all the different hues of a single color are represented in the garden.

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