7 Ways to Use Color Wheels to Design Your Garden

Raise your hand if you fall in love with all the pretty plants on display at your local nursery or garden center, yet have no idea how to put it all together to get that wow-factor you’re looking for. You’re not alone! Thankfully, color wheels are a novice gardener’s BFF – a simple, foolproof way to figure out how to combine plants and flowers. Based on the three primary colors – red, yellow and blue – color wheels showcase a palette of warm (red through chartreuse) and cool (green through purple) tones with everything in between. Here are a few strategies to try:

Complementary Colors

This one’s super-easy: pick plants in colors that are direct opposites from each other on the color wheel, like orange and blue, yellow and purple, or red and green. Flowers always look brighter when paired with a complementary hue!

Analogous Colors

It sounds more complicated than it is! Here, you select colors within three shades beside each other on the wheel, such as purple, red, and orange or blue, green and yellow.

Monochromatic Colors

A single pop of color can create major backyard impact. By keeping all your plants the same shade, you can vary different hues by choosing flowers that offer the same bloom color but have different foliage, heights or shapes. Or go from darkest to lightest.

Warm Colors

Tones of yellow, orange, red and reddish-purple wake up the senses and provide energy. Anything from cream to burgundy works well in the garden.

Cool Colors

Purples, blues and blue-violets provide a soothing, peaceful vibe. Try shades of lavender, periwinkle and light pastels. Whites are great to mix in here, plus they seem to glow at night! Green helps create transitions between flowerbeds.

Double Complements

Want to try something more advanced? To add variety in your garden, consider a double complementary: Choose two adjacent colors, such as orange-yellow plus red, and pick their complements on the color wheel – in this case, purple and green.

Split complements

Here, choose one main color, plus its opposite on the color wheel. Then, look at the two hues on either side of your two chosen main tones. If you pick orange, for example, its opposite is blue; your split complements are therefore green and purple.

No matter which technique you use, you’re sure to come up with a unique rainbow connection! What are your fave color combinations? Come on, show off your true colors!


COLOR WHEEL: Must use this one or another image of a color wheel!!
Photo Credit: marianney5 via Compfight cc

Red & purple flowers:
Photo Credit: Aube insanité via Compfight cc

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