Choosing a color palette for garden space is really no different than choosing a color scheme for a room. It sure is an easy way to look at it, isn’t it? We’re all drawn to certain colors, and those are where you start your process. Start with your instinct, start with the colors you LOVE, and perhaps an inspiration piece or two.
Sometimes your choice of where to start your palette might have to do with tying a particular color back into a particular area. Maybe it’s a color that calms all other colors down, or possibly the spark that lights other colors up. It is not a bad idea to have that one consistent thematic color of foliage in a given area to hold a scene together cohesively.
The photo above is a fascinating illustration if you imagine this small section of the garden as a room. The gold Acorus grass is the flooring, and the silver variegated foliage plants in the middle are like a furniture grouping in the middle of the room. Calm, elegant, textural, and yet subdued so as not to overshadow the artwork of the dramatic coleus on the back wall.
The coleus of course gives echo to the color of the ornamental chimney pot with its rich reds and the deep almost blackish burgundy Festival Grass. The color palette of this small garden was elegantly echoed throughout the rest of the area, but not in this photo.
The coleus and red grass pick up the rich tones of the garden art, OR does the garden art pick up the tones of the coleus and red grass? Either way, this is an excellent example of just one technique for designing with pops of color that make other more subtle tones shine. It’s a fine springboard for both a room and a garden.