Designing around color – at the basic level – is not particularly difficult to accomplish but it does take more work than simply evaluating perennial choices based on their bloom times. As an aside, I note that while it is not difficult to start designing with color, it is hugely difficult to master all the time.
There is a difference between a beginner’s efforts and those of a competent color designer and we should all be glad that this is so. It means we can all continually improve our gardens and our color sense.
Let’s Start With Our Basic Tool – The Color Wheel
The wheel can be broken down into “hot” colors – red through oranges and “cool” colors – blues through greens. In upcoming notes, I’ll describe how we use “heat” in colors to influence how we perceive our gardens.
The wheel is also broken down into the relationships between the different colors. So a combination of colors on exact opposite sides of the wheel will have a different effect in the garden design than colors that are side by side.
And to make things even more interesting, groups of colors have relationships we can use to design our gardens and plant combinations.
We call the relationships between colors – chords. I invite you to think about color chords as you would musical chords. There are good ones and not-so-good combinations. But all notes are combined to create different sounds.
It is exactly the same in color design for the garden; we use two color chords, three color chords, and four color chords to create different looks for our gardens.
I’ll be setting up a series of post that explain how gardeners use this wheel to easily design interesting color combinations.
The best thing about understanding color is you can design your own pleasing combinations with your favorite plants. And once you understand the simple theory, you’ll no longer require all those plant combination suggestions. You’ll make them yourself.