A photograph showing attractive plants that are green, red and blue in colour

Colour can be expressed in the use of flowering plants, as well as foliage, ground-cover materials, walls, painted objects and garden décor. The ways in which colour can be employed are many and varied and it is very satisfying to use your imagination.Colour is a powerful tool in generating your garden design ideas and it can determine the mood of the whole space. The garden can feel warm, cold, energetic, calming, bigger or smaller depending on the colours used. The combination of colours and arrangements are also important as this creates impact within the space.  Primary Colours can’t be made by combining other colours


Primary Colours for Garden Design

Colour wheel showing primary colours.

The primary colours are Red, Yellow and Blue.  

Primary Colours can’t be made by combining other colours.


Secondary Colours for Garden Design

Colour wheel showing secondary colours for garden design.You need of course to bear in mind that in Garden Design you won’t be readily mixing colours to create new ones. The information here is simply to help you understand the nature of colours and how they relate to each other.Secondary colours are created by mixing Primary Colours to create Orange, Green and Violet.

Red+Yellow = Orange

Yellow+Blue = Green

Blue+Red = Purple

Tertiary Colours

Mixing Secondary and Primary colours that rest beside each other on the colour wheel creates tertiary colours:

Yellow-green = yellow and green in equal amounts

Yellow-orange = yellow and orange in equal amounts

Red-orange = orange and red in equal amounts

Red-violet = red and violet in equal amounts

Blue-violet = blue and violet in equal amounts

Blue-green = blue and green in equal amounts


A full and simple colour wheel.Cool colours are restful while warm colours express action.  Colours bring your garden to life. Bright colours like reds, oranges and yellows seem to appear to be much closer than they really are, whereas cool colours, such as greens and blues recede and make objects appear further away or makes space appear larger. Bright colours can be used to direct somebody’s eye to a particular part of your landscape or to make a large space seem more intimate, whereas cool colours can be employed to help make your space seem larger.

Neutral colours such as greys, blacks and whites should be used in the background to help maintain the depth of the landscape. Do not use too many colours within a design, always remember that less is more.