Gardening Tips > September > Use a colour wheel when planting your containers

Use a colour wheel when planting your containers

As you begin to replace your summer bedding with fresh new pansies and other Autumn bedding it may be worth taking some time to think of your chosen colour theme. Autumn containers utilise shrubs and grasses for added texture and colour and the wide colour range of pansies makes them perfect for any theme you choose.

Colour themes will set the mood and give your beds and containers a ‘pulled-together’ appearance. A Colour Wheel is a useful tool that helps us to think about how colour work together in the garden. Particular relationships between colours will offer different results.

When playing with colours in the garden it’s easier to break colour themes into two choices:

  1. Harmonious (colours that are next to each other and are closely related)
  2. Contrasting (colours that are furthest apart)

Harmonious colour combinations avoid the chaos of too many colours. You can work with 2-3 colours that are adjacent to each other (red, orange, yellow) to create a subtle yet sophisticated ‘less is more’ design.

Complementary whites and silvers

Complementary whites and silvers

Contrasting colour combinations use two colours opposite each other on the colour wheel (purple and yellow, green and red and orange and blue). These colours complement each other perfectly and will seem brighter and more eye-catching than on their own. Complementary colour schemes create excitement and drama and often work best when used sparingly. Allowing one colour to dominate and utilising the second colour to set it off often works better than trying to make both colours compete to be noticed.

Orange pansies contrast with purple foliage

Orange pansies contrast with purple foliage

Images provided by GAP Photos Ltd.

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