When I’m out and about my mind is always (well usually!) open to new ideas that help me to be more creative and consequently design better gardens.  Today I am writing about colour combinations.

The fashion inside the home a few years ago was a palette of neutrals with chocolate brown being a highlight colour, for me it was too bland and my previous home was a riot of colour, sadly I cannot do that where I live now.  I’ve noticed however that colour is coming back in.  Habitat have recently talked about using green as an accent colour.  Green is a laid-back, soothing colour and has earthy undertones, pairing this with grey or warm terracotta for me is welcoming and gives a feeling of warmth.

In the garden colour tends to be more ubiquitous although usually our clients prefer either the cool or hot palette.  The cool encompasses pink, white, blue and purple, of course in pastels like baby blue and rose pink or bold tones such as fuchsia and royal purple.  Often the combination of the soft hues with some vibrant tones accentuates the difference and is visually attractive. The hot colours ranging from red through orange to yellow summon up visions of the Mediterranean and an azure sky.  Who could fail to be cheered by these colours in a typical British summer.

Of course the two colour palettes are not mutually exclusive and you could have both flowering at the same time or cooler tones in the spring followed be hotter colours come the height of summer.  For me nodding yellow daffodils are the harbinger of spring and I can look forward to longer, warmer days when I start to see their sunny faces.

Come the autumn the colours tend to be more muted with russets, oranges and browns, in Britain it is evocative of Bonfire Night and its associated smells.  Seeing trees change colour is an amazing part of nature, of course they talk about fall in New England, USA but I think our colours can rival theirs in a good autumn.  You can bring some of this autumn colour into your garden even if it is small, with Amelanchiers, Cercis canadensis and a popular small tree Acer japonicum and A. palmatum – Japanese maple.  Of course if you need hedging hornbeam and beech both have fabulous autumn leaves with beech retaining its leaves through most of the winter, although hornbeam can be easier to establish.  During the autumn and winter months they can provide the colour outside on a grey day then they act as a foil for other plants the rest of the year.

Last summer I visited Yorkgate garden in August and the combination of Eryngium and Convolvulus were fantastic.  For me the vivid blue and hot pink look fabulous together.


Which colours will you choose?  Or just splashes of everything?!?