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Spice Up Your Landscape with Annual Color

The addition of annual color will add interest to your summer landscape. Annuals may be used in containers, window boxes, hanging baskets, or planted in landscape beds. In choosing which annuals to plant, consider the color combinations, height and width, along with light and water requirements when making your selections.

The addition of annual color will add interest to the summer landscape.

The addition of annual color will add interest to the summer landscape.
Jordan Franklin, ©2017, Clemson Extension

 

White, grey, silver, and green are considered neutral colors. They will tone down other colors and can be used as a divider between two colors that may conflict. White and silver also provide a glowing effect and soothing influence, so they will provide luminescence to early morning landscapes and especially to evening and night gardens. Both will intensify bolder colors.

The use of silver plants harmonizes with and softens many flower colors.

The use of silver plants harmonizes with and softens many flower colors.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Colors, such as blue, purple, and pink will create a calming effect, make a garden look larger, and will appear cool on the hottest days. Blue serves as a blender for other colors and make it appear warm or cool depending on the tint and relation to other colors.

Bright warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow will draw attention and make the space look smaller. They also create an uplifting sensation and are best used in bright sunlight. Red will add a punch of excitement to the garden, but do not overdo unless you want a hot looking effect.

Reds, oranges, and yellows are bright warm colors are best used in bright sunlight.

Reds, oranges, and yellows are bright warm colors are best used in bright sunlight.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

Pastel hues tend to fade in the sunlight, so use them in shadier areas. Pastels have a cooling effect and make shade gardens more inviting during hot summer days.

Pastels and lighter colors tend to fade in bright sunlight and are best used in shadier areas.Jordan Franklin, ©2017, Clemson Extension

Pastels and lighter colors tend to fade in bright sunlight and are best used in shadier areas. Jordan Franklin, ©2017, Clemson Extension

Using a Color Wheel

A color wheel is a circular diagram of the color spectrum that is used to show the relationship between colors. It is based on the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. A full color wheel is similar to the color arrangement in a rainbow, starting with red, orange, and yellow that are followed by green, blue, and purple. Warm colors are red through yellow, while cool colors are green, blue, and purple. Color wheels are excellent tools in determining how to use and combine different annuals in your landscape.

Three examples of Color Wheels: Analogous colors are ones that are next to each other on the color wheel. They will match well in order to create a harmonious design. In designing an analogous color scheme, choose one color to dominate along with one or two others to support. Adding a neutral color, such as white or silver, will accent the design.

Analogous Color Wheel

Analogous colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, create a harmonious design.

Analogous colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, create a harmonious design.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complementary colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel. A natural way to combine color in the garden is to choose complimentary colors that create a vibrant effect.

Comlementary Color wheel

Complimentary colors, such as purple and yellow, create a vibrant effect in the garden.

Complimentary colors, such as purple and yellow, create a vibrant effect in the garden. Jordan Franklin, ©2017, Clemson Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

The color triad is where three colors are connected by drawing an equilateral triangle, spacing the colors evenly around the color wheel. Let one color dominate the design and use the two other colors for accent.

Color Triad Scheme color wheel

Purple, orange, and green create a color triad design.

Purple, orange, and green create a color triad design. Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, see HGIC 1152, Growing Annuals, and HGIC 1154, Hanging Baskets & Window Boxes.

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