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When it comes to summer gardening, it’s easy to get swept up in the rush of bushy blooms, elegant stems, and vivid colors. But sometimes the crimson flowers you planted in a fit of excitement one Saturday morning wind up looking a little . . . off next to those hydrangea bushes that bloom reliably every year. So how can Woodstock gardeners sidestep that, “well, darn” moment? All it takes is a little color theory.

Using the Color Wheel in the Garden

Harken back to your college, high school, or elementary school art class. Do you remember the color wheel? If you were more interested in science, literature, history, or gym class, you may have dismissed the principles of art out of hand. But art sprouts in every corner of the garden. It’s time to brush up.

  • The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Every other color builds off of these colors.
  • Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors together.
  • Intermediate colors mix together a secondary color with a primary color, resulting in something that’s more one color than the other (for example, yellow-orange).
  • Neutral colors aren’t colors at all, but black, white, and gray.

Designing with Color in the Garden

Once you master the color wheel, untold opportunities will unfold in the garden. You can brighten dark corners, mute overwhelming areas, and add personality to any garden space.

  • color wheelPlanting with complementary colors is the simplest way to create an effective floral display. Choose colors opposite each other on the color wheel (like yellow and purple) to create a visual that pops without straining the eye.
  • Make a harmonious display by planting analogous colors (colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel) in your garden beds.
  • Simplicity is key when planting in monochrome. Show off interesting textures or shapes by offsetting the visual interest with plants of the same hue.
  • Choose a warm palette or cool palette and stick to it.
  • Never let too many colors compete for attention. Choose two or three colors that go well together, then explore variations within those individual colors.
  • Greens are a great way to subdue an over-bright landscape, but don’t forget that green is a color too.

Not sure which colors might go together? The best way to see is to try it out. Stroll the well-stocked grounds at Autumn Hill Nursery. When you find flowers you like, hold them up together to test out the combination. For more tips on landscape design, call our Woodstock garden center.

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