Colors are probably the most powerful design factor in garden design. And plants are generally the easiest and most dominant element where color and contrast can be achieved and manipulated.
However, for many gardeners and landscapers in their quest for the perfect color combinations, there is another side to plants that is often overlooked. And that would be the contrast of the many wonderful and varied textures of plants. Specifically and for the sake of this article, green plants. And yes, green is a color.
Green plants not only serve as a color element just as any other color, but can also be used as a neutral transitional color that ties other elements and colors together. Or in other words, as a filler or where one area of the garden transitions to the next. Natural transition is very important in garden design.
I was reminded the other day as I spoke with a client of how so many people actually overlook green as actually being a color design element in garden and landscape design.
As we talked about her project I pointed out that we now had four colors in her plan and that we needed to repeat them throughout the design to create some balance. Remember, balance and repetition are principles of landscaping. She questionably stated that we only had three colors in her design.
At first I was puzzled but soon understood what she meant. Green isn’t really a color. It’s just the medium that holds the real colored parts in place.
Now if we looked at green as just being a neutral medium, I might be able to go along with this. However, as a designer, I see it in a much different way. There are many shades of green that hold many different textures that can create such wonderful contrasts that can de designed with.
Some of the most vibrant and lush gardens I’ve ever seen have simply displayed this one color in many variations. Light greens, dark greens, yellow greens, etc. And I haven’t even touched on texture here. Even the same shade of green in different textures creates a wonderful contrast for designing purposes.
Try and picture the lushness and beauty of a dark jungle. Their beauty and contrast are generally created by the variations of shade and texture and not bright colors. Shady gardens that resemble a deep forest or jungle are absolutely beautiful in their own right.
Keep this in mind when planning your next garden. Just as one example, a mixture of Hostas, Ferns, and Ornamental Grasses can create a very memorable and eye catching display using the color green.
Yes… green is a color.