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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | 8 Basic Principles - Color

8 Basic Principles of Landscape Design - Part 5 of 8

This month we continue with part 5 - having already gone over 4 of the 8 concepts that most professional landscape designers use.

If you have missed any of the previous 4 articles, they were: Unity, Simplicity, Transition, and Balance.

This month we continue with:

COLOR - Principle 5 of 8

The best thing that color adds to any landscape is the dimension of real life and interest.

Warm Colors

Bright colors like reds, yellows and oranges seem to advance toward you and can actually make an object seem closer to you and are often used in the foreground of a landscape.

In fact many painters use this technique. The next time you have an opportunity to see some paintings in a gallery or store window, notice how painters, by mimicking nature, use warm colors in the foreground and cooler colors in the background.

Cool Colors

Using warm colors up front is done in both the landscape and art world because cool colors like greens, blues, and pastels seem to move away from you and can make an object seem farther from you.

This is a great technique to use if you have a small area and want it to look larger - recede the colors.

Neutral Colors

The use of grays, blacks, and whites are considered neutral colors and can be used both as background colors, or used in conjunction with bright colors in the foreground. Neutral colors are very versatile, but use them sparingly.

Other Uses Of Color

Colors can also be used to direct your attention to a specific area of the garden.

Example: Use masses of bright colors, alone or mixed with cool colors if you so wish, and this spot of color would naturally catch the eye.

What's fun about color is that you can use your favorite palette for your own purposes.

Example: If you really like white, there is nothing wrong with a garden that has all white flowers. It can be very dramatic and sophisticated when done properly.

Keep in mind, that by adding any other color against that all white backdrop, it will instantly pop - such as a bright piece of art, a vase or container, or even one red flowering specimen.

This is a good trick to use when you really want to be dramatic about something.

Keep Thinking

With the above examples, think about your favorite colors and how you could best work them in, using the previously discussed landscape principles of Unity, Simplicity, Transition, and Balance.

All kinds of ideas should now to be starting to come to you and this is where the fun really starts!


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When to Water

If you can, it is always best to water early in the morning. This allows the plant's leaves and flowers to dry off as the day warms up.

If you water at night, the plant stays wet for hours in the cool, which are prime conditions for fungi and other problems to set in.

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