How the right colours can set the mood in your garden

What’s the most important thing you want from your garden? A stimulating, exciting focal point for entertaining? Or a relaxing sanctuary for meditation?

Great gardeners deliberately use colour to create mood.

Beginner gardeners, on the other hand, choose the plants they like, in all of the colours and textures that they like – and just plant them wherever they can fit them in. The result is a garden that, despite all of the owner’s hard work, doesn’t look great as a whole.

It’s the visual equivalent of this room.

The owner likes something about each of the individual elements, but put together they make an overwhelming picture of clutter.

The solution

The solution is to choose colours to create the effect you want. Using the same principles that artists, interior designers and fashion designersuse , this post will give you some ideas about how to choose colour for your garden.

The colour wheel

You’ve probably come across the colour wheel before:


It’s the most powerful tool that decorators, artists and designers use to choose colour for their work. And you should use it too. It’s ridiculously easy to use.

Exciting, stimulating colour choices

To choose exciting and stimulating focal points for your garden, go for contrast. That means that you place side-by-side in your garden colours that are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. Why do flame trees look so dramatic? Because they are bright red against a blue (sky) and green (foliage) background.


A second way to create a stimulating mood using colour is by grouping together plants of warmer colours. These colours create an exciting mood. It’s why they are used at around barbeque and play areas. Here’s a photo of how its done at the lovely Red Fish Grill restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, USA.


Meditative, calming colour choices

I’m an extreme introvert, so it won’t surprise you to learn that the most important function of my garden is to be a peaceful sanctuary. My garden is being designed in cooler colours – blues, purples and greens. Here’s an example of the look I’m going for. It’s from the Bay Village Tropical Retreat in Cairns, Australia.

green garden

What colour choices are you deliberately making in your garden? Send me your photos at and I’ll share them on this site.

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