Container Gardening Design – Color That Communicates

Flower pots filled with color make feel something, from happy and energized to calm and soothed. And since container garden design is the uber small space design, it’s essential to understand the power of color.

Why? Because whether you’re patio gardening or glancing up at your window boxes or hanging planters, what you see should reflect decisions you make and not appear random. Or even worse, convey a busy, harried look when you were going for elegant and refined.

The container gardening design help below will show you how to achieve just the feeling you want, using color alone.

Strategic Color Choices

  • Green will always be present. And that’s great because it functions to absorb and soften some of the stronger colors. It also presents a calming presence since the deeper shades are very soothing.

  • Monochromatic: To create a soothing, restrained statement, pick a monochromatic scheme of one color and its variations (with limited spots of accent if you wish).
    Gardening Help Tip: Try using different leaf textures, flower shapes, and color shadings to create a lovely, sophisticated outdoor planter. For example, a summer flower palette in white might include tall ‘Casablanca’ lilies above non-trailing petunias. The surface of the pot will stack upward. You can add trailing bacopa (with its tiny white flowers) to complete the display.
  • Complimentary container designs are striking and bold. Since yellow and blue are directly across from each other on the color wheel, this color combination is considered complementary. A spring example of complimentary colors would include yellow daffodils combined with blue hyacinth and bi-colored pansies or crocuses.
    Gardening Help Tip: Alter the impression of this color scheme by softening to or away from the pastel. Delft blue hyacinth, for example, would blend well with a small, softer-colored jonquil (a smaller flower size than the daffodils) to make a less-assertive impression.
  • Analogous, blending colors: If you prefer a softer look and feel, plant flowers with colors next to each other on the color wheel. Green, yellow-green, and yellow would make an analogous planting. In fall, your container garden design can include analogously colored chrysanthemums in yellow, gold, rust, and burgundy. Be sure to select hues carefully so your container design doesn’t appear haphazard.

Emotional Effect of Color

We know color makes us feel something. But what, specifically?

Generally, blues, and purples recede, or seem to be farther away from the viewer, and present a cooler, more reserved presence. Yellows and reds come forward and are much more assertive, creating a “hot” emotional climate.

Gardening Help Tip: To warm up a cool color, move it toward the red or yellow shades. Blue becomes warmer as you move it toward the lavender shades, for example. The opposite is also true. Cool down hot colors by moving them toward their opposites-yellow becomes cooler as you move toward the yellow-greenish tones.

Also, try using these two container design rules:

Repetition. Repeat colors and flower shapes, types, and forms. Repetition is soothing, and very easy to achieve. Plant a flower pot with trailing variegated ivy topped by white calla lilies. In a container garden display, repeat this bi-colored palette or use the ivy in two other clay flower pots.

Odd numbers. For some reason, we humans like odd-numbered groupings. They’re much more satisfying than even-numbered ones and send a message of “completeness” to the viewer. Make sure your container gardening design includes pots in numbers of one, three, five, or seven (etc.) for best effect.

And finally, to add color and light to your shade garden, try these two easy tips:

Use variegated foliage (ones that contain shades of white). They really stand out in semi-or full-shade locations. Also try planting impatiens (especially in the pastel colors). They almost glow in the shade, are very easy flowers to cultivate, and best of all, they thrive in shade.

Think of your overall container gardening design as another “room” of your home. It’s an extension of your interior décor (including your color choices and style) and how you’ve landscaped and designed the outside of your home. Remember, color communicates–make sure it conveys exactly the look and feel you want.

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