Take your Garden from Dull to Dazzling

Is your garden suffering from overall dullness? Do you envy your neighbor’s luscious landscape? Would you like to add a bit of bravura to your beds? If so, here are a 5 simple tips to help spice up your garden, patio or landscape.

Slider Flower Carpet and Trops


contrasting colors in the garden1. Dazzle with Contrasting Colors

Colors from opposite sides of the color wheel are “contrasting colors” or “complimentary colors.” Blue and orange, yellow and purple, green and red are all examples of contrasting colors. Using them together to create a vibrant look is easy: plant contrasting colors together; add a contrasting-colored garden accent to an existing bed, or use containers that contrast with plants to add impact to patios and decks. Shown here is Tropicanna Gold; the cobalt blue pot really makes its bright orange and yellow blossoms stand out!



contrasting colors in the garden

Yellow and Purple are on the opposite sides of the color wheel which is what makes these coreopsis and Purple Volcano phlox work so well together.


contrasting colors in the garden

Adding a garden accent in contrasting bright  blue helps to set off the Flower Carpet Scarlet roses, marigolds and pansies.


Sweet Spot® the Decorator Rose®

In it’s bright blue planter Sweet Spot rose ‘Calypso’ quickly adds a decorator touch to this poolside patio!


Tropicanna canna in mixed container

Tropicanna as the thriller in this container works nicely with similar colored coleus and calibrachoas.

2. Spice Up Your Beds with Swaths of Color

Create a stunning landscape with long stretches of identical plants, or plants of the same color.  Mix tall pink cleomes and zinnias, mid-height Volcano phlox, lower growing Flower Carpet Pink Supreme and add a low border of pink Wave petunias to create a long-blooming color-filled border or bed.   If you want to keep it simple, select a long-blooming plant such as Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susans) or Flower Carpet roses and plant in multiples – at least 6-9 plants in total. If you’re limited to container gardening, select several plants that have similar colors, either in their foliage or in their blooms.

easy care roses along picket fence

A long border of Flower Carpet Pink roses presents nicely against the picket fence.


drought gardens

Swaths of color work really well in drought gardens adds interest and impact.


Storm agapanthus

A row-long planting of Thunder Storm agapanthus welcomes visitors to this home.


planting swaths of color

A mix of yellow-flowered plants keep your eyes moving through this beautiful English garden.


Tropicanna backlit by sun

It’s easy to add swaths of color with exotic Tropicanna canna. Even when not in bloom, the foliage adds impact to any garden or landscape


Mildew resistant Volcano phlox in the garden

A swath of pinks using Volcano phlox in various shades of pink, mixed with cleome and filipendula (Meadowsweet) creates a focal point, while the large dark burgundy leaves of the castor bean plant, Tropicanna black and ornamental plum tree add more depth and interest.


Coprosma Pacific Sunset

Coprosma Pacific Sunset’s shiny dark foliage works nicely against the yellow-green nandina.

3. Don’t Forget Fabulous Foliage

We often forget that foliage can play as important a role in the garden as flowers. Foliage plants comes in a variety of colors, shades, shapes and sizes and can easily add impact to any garden or container – from small trees and shrubs to perennials and annuals, foliage can play an important role in any setting. Create a border or bed using mixed foliage, combining shades of green, purple, white and yellow, remembering that planting multiples of each will have the most impact. And, even when they’re not in bloom, fabulous foliage plants continue to add interest to the garden – some even more so as we move into autumn.

simple container ideas

Foliage provides the primary color in this container filled with Tropicanna, sweet potato vine and coleus.


Festival cordyline

Festival ‘Burgundy’s’ dark foliage really adds interest to what may otherwise be a dull garden.


adding texture to the garden

Strappy Festival ‘Burgundy‘ contrasts nicely with boxwood’s small round leaves.

4. Texture is Tops

Using texture in the garden to create more interest is easy to do if you use the same principal we did with contrasting colors, only with this, you’re combining plants of opposite textures. The basic plant textures include bold (hostas, elephant ears, cannas); fine (astilbe, bleeding hearts, ferns, thyme); intermediate (salvia, bee balm, coleus, euphorbia); and strap-like (grasses, cordylines, daylilies, iris, carex, aliums). Adding to that are fuzzy-leaf plants like sages, lambs ears, Artemisia and much more. So give it a try!  Combine lacy Japanese painted ferns with bold hostas in a shade bed, or plant broad leafed Tropicanna canna with delicate draping Begonia bonfire in a container.  In small gardens, using plants that have smaller or medium textures can make the garden appear larger.  Large leafed and bold foliage used in larger spaces helps to bring things together and make the space feel more intimate.

adding texture to the garden

Loads of texture adds interest to this small garden.


texture in the garden

Strappy grasses mixed with smaller leafed foliage gives this garden loads of appeal, even with only a few blooming plants.


Using texture in the garden

Various textures and colors combine for a stunning overall look in Wisley Gardens


Flower Carpet Yellow with salvia

Choose colors that make you happy!

5. Take a chance

And finally, don’t be afraid to go bold with colors. Years ago we were  taught to not combine plaids and stripes, to not wear pink and purple together, and to stay away from bright colors if you didn’t want to attract attention.   But those rules certainly don’t work any more, especially in the garden.  So, take a chance!  Plant those bright pink Flower Carpets next to bold purple salvia; mix bright orange impatiens with purple petunias in a blue pot and add a few spikes of strappy carex! Have fun, and happy planting!


companion planting

It’s fine to mix pinks and purples in the garden!  Flower Carpet Pink loves being paired with lavender.












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