Colorful garden design in the Pacific Northwest

Creating an interesting garden with an eye on color.

A garden design should only be monochromatic in the moonlight. Otherwise, it should have varied colors, some bright, some muted, some massive, some minute. It is the complement to texture and form that the eyes crave.

Imagine...A colorful garden design that magically changes with the season -- one swath of color goes dominant, and the garden design changes to another color theme...and to yet another, ending with fall foliage taking a final bow before the garden itself goes dormant. Even then, a winter garden in the Pacific Northwest can display colors provided by evergreens, fall berries, colored rock, and structures which may include a variety of colors.

Create color through flower variety and placement

Garden design for color is easy to do and it's fun to watch as the colorful garden develops and changes through the seasons. For example, you can create a white garden for early spring (notice the color of a tree as it blooms and locate the plants that have white blossoms and flower earliest in spring). Then, select plants and flowers that bloom slightly later in spring and early summer which have blooms of yellow, blue and bright colors. Select another group of plants and wildflowers that will create a colorful garden design throughout the summer. Finally, notice which plants stay green and which ones turn to burnt red, orange, gold and brown in fall. A nice design won't include every color in all areas of the garden at one time, but should display a splotch of color here, a dash of color there.

It is also interesting to create small colorful gardens throughout the landscape that display a color of their own. A blue garden may include lavender, ground-covers (such as lithodora and lobelia) and plants (such as hydrangea or ceanothus impressus 'Puget Blue') all of which should grow very well in the Pacific Northwest. Choosing a selection of various textures all with a blue tint is splendid, especially when nestled amongst rock, pots and wood structures. A colorful garden will show a balance of color and textures that is not overwhelming, but pleasantly spaced.

A cottage garden, possibly the noisiest in terms of color will still follow this theme and have a base color from the dark green hostas in one area of the garden to be replaced by another of gray green and the pinkish-purple from lavender a short distance away, one being in the shade and the other in sun.

Create color with garden structures

Statues, landscape structures, rocks, and stones add color all year, but the contrast of vegetative color brings out the colors of these elements. Without the day lilies bounding out of their beds and coloring the backdrop, rock and landscape structures jut out. You see much more of them. Care in placement of these elements can make their colors prominent all year or just when the vegetation dies back. Rocks can be red, gray, bluish (though some fade over time), and can occupy large swathes of the visual field. As a base color, a rock river is terrific. A rock river composed of red volcanic lava is a good contrast to a large green swath or counter-point to red blossoms. Quartz can be white or shiny and can be used as a border around a focal point.

Rock offers a pallet of color all its own. Rocks can be red, gray, bluish (though some fade over time), and can occupy large swathes of the visual field. As a base color, a rock river is terrific. A rock river composed of red volcanic lava is a good contrast to a large green swath or counter-point to red blossoms. Quartz can be white or shiny and can be used as a border around a focal point.

Create color through lighting and water

Lighting is another method for bringing color into a garden. Though outdoor lighting is most vivid at night, our Pacific Northwest weather and gray days mean outdoor lighting can be enjoyed throughout much of the year. Read what we say about landscape lighting!

Living in the Pacific Northwest, gives us our own unique opportunity to color our landscapes in winter...from the rain. How does rain create color? There is, of course, the green moss that grows everywhere throughout the winter (that's not really what I'm referring to). The collection of rain water can be used to create reflective pools and ponds than emit color in a whole new way. Your garden can be radically different when wet, so as a Pacific Northwest landscape lover, you benefit where other places require man-made water features.

Make use of reflection at night too. Consider the view from different locations in the garden. You might be surprised how much more you enjoy our winter rain.

What do you think?

I wonder if home that is for sale would sell faster if it had a colorful garden, as opposed to ones that are only green, gray, and brown? I'd love to hear what you think.

Comment below! Share with us what you like about colorful garden designs in the Pacific Northwest.

Category: Landscape Design

Environmental Construction, Inc.

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