An Artfully Designed Flower Garden with Colours, Textures and Decor
It may still be the dead of winter, but I’m already daydreaming about spring gardening. Everybody has their own sense of style when it comes to their garden, but there are a few aesthetic elements to consider when planning your garden to be a work of art. Thinking about colour combinations, texture combinations, as well as how to preserve your masterpiece will yield the best results.
Complementary colours for plants, stones, and furniture
Complementary colours are those opposite each other in the colour wheel and occur in nature all the time like pansies (yellow and violet), red daisies (red petals with a green center), and the blue and orange parrot. Pick a pair of complements that you like together, but not more than one because the colors are strong and make a big statement. If you choose to use to use violet and yellow, you can do mostly yellow flowers and accent them with purple patio furniture or throw pillows. You will obviously have some other colours thrown into the garden too, such as green and white, just make them minimal.
Textures to think about when using complementary colour schemes
Using a complementary colour scheme will allow you to go with coarse, medium or fine textures all around them. Most plants have a medium texture, so when using vibrant colour differences it is important to bring balance with texture. If you have a lot of plants with small petals & leaves use medium to large stones tiles on any pathways, or make sure most complementary plants are a different size than what the eye primarily sees as being in the background. The goal when using complements is contrast, so just use your gut instinct – it will look brilliant and exotic.
Consider throw pillows to compliment your garden. The picture above has natural elements of dark purple and dark green, and the compliments of those (yellow and red respectively) are added by using the pillows. The potted plants add a bit more colour to the scene, giving a tropical and cheery look. The plant in the foreground adds some interesting texture with the smaller leaves to contrast with the larger stone tiles which nearly match the size and shape of the pillows.
Using this approach will mean choosing multiple shades of the same colour. It will end up looking like the varying shades of blue in the sea or the different greens naturally occurring in the forest.
The garden above relies on varying shades of green and white while using an active yellow to add some pop. There is also a lot of texture and height variation that adds depth while bordering on the busy look. If that is your personality, go for it!
Active and passive colours
Passive colours easily make up the work of art that is your garden, while active colours pop out and make themselves known. Warm colours such as red, orange and yellow will typically advance. Cooler colours like blue, violet and green are passive and withdraw.
When using décor such as signs, lighting and furniture in flower gardens you can use passive colours to make them blend into the background, or make them stand out with active reds, oranges, or even bright pinks.
Protecting your work of art
It isn’t always possible to beat the storm to your garden, but securing any garden furniture with covers will prevent many headaches. I once planted my backyard with brilliant purples and blues to make my antique, bright yellow patio set pop. The garden arm chairs were under the eve, and I had my furniture covers literally arrive the next day, but somehow the wind blew the rain in and nearly ruined the chairs while I was at work! I definitely learned my lesson.
Another threat to your flowery work of art is wild animals – or even your own pets!
Deny the unlimited, unsupervised access that many pet owners neglectfully give dogs that end up digging up plants. Wild animals, such as squirrels, can dig up bulbs which could be another headache altogether. To avoid this, be proactive and put down a layer of chicken wire in the fall. Cover it with mulch and this way the plants will grow through the wire, even though the rodents can’t dig through it.
Lisa Henfield is an exterior designer who spent a few years designing patio furniture covers for hotels in Las Vegas. She mostly writes about her design experiences, providing tips on exterior design and gardens.