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Past Articles Library | Organizing Ones Color Palette through the Use of the Color Wheel

Deciding on what color to make ones landscape may seem simple but many designs have been haphazardly created by planting “what looks pretty.”  While Mother Nature does this very successfully, it takes a special skill to replicate her design.  The next best way of creating a landscape design that works together and creates a harmonious and relaxing environment is only a color wheel away.

A color wheel is not limited as a tool to teach kids about color or the order of the rainbow; it can also be used to help you organize your color scheme.  If you layout your favorite colors, you may come upon a pattern that can be used to create your outdoor living space and make everyone thing you spent a fortune on your own designer.

There does exist five color categories by which colors are arranged.  These are listed from the easiest and less complicated to the more challenging. 


As the name implies with “mono” meaning one, this color category deals with one color and only one color.  The shade, hue, or intensity of the color can change but the root of the color remains the same.  An example of this would be the color white.  It could be eggshell, cream, pearl, ivory or beige.

While a monochromatic landscape may seem the easiest approach, especially when you consider the color green, it is not.  Other elements of design have to be used to make this color scheme pop with interest.


A complementary color scheme is one whose colors are across from each other on the color wheel.  You can work this color scheme out by simply taking a color wheel and drawing one arrow in one direction toward a color and then continuing that arrow to the color right across from it.  An example of this would be yellow and violet.

This approach is one of opposites attract and in doing so is one that be replicated without much difficulty.  If you need some inspiration, take a look at a pansy bloom.  Many of these blooms follow the complementary color scheme. 


In this color arrangement, colors are chosen on either side of the favorite color.  This is a great approach to use when you do not want to match a color but want to colors that make good neighbors instead of opposites. 

To see how this would work, lets choose the color yellow.  On the left of this color is the color yellow green and on the right is the color yellow orange.  These two alternative colors are what would be used in place of the yellow.

This is a great approach to use when the favorite color may be too bold and you do not desire a monochromatic design.


This color scheme is great approach to use when you desire several colors but you do not want a kaleidoscope affect.  To utilize this color scheme, one must first pick a color.  Then draw an equilateral triangle from that color.  If you have formed the equilateral triangle correctly you will notice that there are three colors in between each leg of the triangle.

As an example of how this will work, lets start off with the color yellow.  Draw the first leg of the equilateral triangle, which will take you to the color blue.  From there draw the other leg, which will take you to the color red.  The listed colors will be the ones that make up this color scheme. 


A pure example of this is what Mother Nature designs.  An arrangement of different colors splashed across a green landscape like a Claude Monet masterpiece.  While this is the easiest color scheme to use, it is the hardest to make look organized and natural instead of a hodge-podge of colors.

To get the biggest impact of color when using this approach, group like colored flowers together instead of having them stand like soldiers in a row.

Using a color wheel as a guide can help you organize your garden’s color scheme into the one of a kind masterpiece that you desire.


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Rotate Certain Crops

Avoid planting potatoes and tomatoes where they grew last year. They carry the same diseases, so it's best to rotate them.

You'll have much healthier plants, and more successful crops.

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