We interrupt this winter to bring you… colour

Colour as punctuation: a bold blast marks a point of entry and a transition between levels

Bet you’re as fed-up-to-the-teeth as we are with February 2015’s relentless, white-on-white colour scheme. Let’s think colourful thoughts, shall we? Have a looksee at the inspiring ways this Portland garden has used colour – Colour! Remember what that is? – to try in the (hopefully) near future.

How’s this for a utility area? This is a blast of colour, for sure, but good planning means it holds together.
For example, when I look at how colour elements are placed in this design, I see many interlocking triangles like the ones I’ve drawn. It moves my eye around the composition yet creates a sense of balance – even with a bright palette like this. Try it yourself now with the picture just before this one. How many triangles (or zigzags) do you see?
Colour repetition: chartreuse is repeated here in grasses and chairs; browns and rusts in art, furnishings and foliage again – all in a variety of textures. To me, this repetition creates a cohesive space, with a bit of blue to prevent it becoming too monotonous. What do you think of it?
Colour framing: see how the clivia picks up the red in the dancing girls planter and even the car? Now think how this might work differently (and maybe not as well) if the clivia pot were swapped with the hot pink hydrangea. Same plants, same colours, but different balance.
Colour echoes: the blue star-shaped grass picks up the blue Saturn rings in the glass birdbath.
Same colour, different texture. You could do this with plants as well.


  1. Hi Helen,

    ahh, colour in the garden. A faint memory from last fall, thanks for reminding us what will be around the corner.

    Colour therapy, much needed during this brutal February!

  2. OMG, All that color is making me dizzy. Just beautiful! I think I need a more gradual reintroduction, though, after this color-starved winter! -Jean

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