Using Color In And Around Your Garden

It’s interesting how combinations of colors offer visual focal points for a garden. Whether it is a black backdrop or certain colors in combination, a whole different appearance is possible.

Dark Backdrop

An interesting example of how the appearance of a garden is changed by a particular color of a backdrop can be striking. Imagine a black house, pergola or other structure serving as the background to your garden.

The black house in the background absorbs the light. This allows the plants in the foreground to emit all the color.

Photo by: Nick McCullough

The garden appears more appealing and bold because the eye is drawn to the hues of the different plants.

Meanwhile, a combination of a black background to a garden that has a combination of lush green foliage creates a crisp contrast. The black background makes the various shades of green of the plants to stand out. Two greens that might otherwise look the same are separated when viewed in contrast with a black backdrop.

Photo by: Nick McCullough

The black background not only makes colors pop, but also assists in enhancing the textures of the plants. The plants seem to offer a sharp, crisp contrast to the dark hue.

Painting the structures that backdrop your garden can enhance its appearance and offer interesting places for the eye to focus that may not occur with a plain backdrop or no backdrop at all.

A variety of paints with shades that enhance the appearance of a garden include:

  • Benjamin Moore: Raccoon Fur
  • Farrow & Ball: Off-Black
  • Benjamin Moore: Deep Bronze
  • Sherwin Williams: Peppercorn

Colors In The Garden

To enhance your garden with striking color combinations, you need an understanding of the basic principles of color design. They are:

  • Primary colors
  • Secondary colors
  • Intermediate or tertiary colors
  • Neutral colors

The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.

Secondary colors are created when combining two primary colors. For example, red and yellow combined create orange, yellow and blue creates green, and red and blue create purple.

Combining a primary and a secondary color creates intermediate or tertiary colors.

Black, white, and brown are neutral colors.

Bright colors (a.k.a. warm colors) include reds, oranges, and yellows. They pop and look best in sunny locations. Cool colors include blues, purples, and greens. They seem to recede into the background and are most effective when used in partially shaded areas.

Pale colors including yellows and whites reflect sunlight and brighten shady areas.

Cool colors and pale shades create depth in the garden. Bright colors make a garden look closer.

Pastel colors fade in bright sunlight and very warm colors pop.

Red lends excitement.

A color’s intensity will decrease when placed next to a color that complements. Color intensity increases when next to colors that contrast.

Garden Design

Design your garden by balancing colors. For example, the border should consist of the same color to create a cohesive tapestry. Mix dark colors sparingly on a light background to create powerful combinations. Heightened the look using light-colored plants on a dark background.

(Sources: and

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.