Contrasting colours rather than complementary ones make a bigger impact in your garden. Most people tend to opt for complementing colors when choosing plants. I always tell my clients “remember, you are not wearing the plants, they do not have to match!“
Choose colours that are opposite (not next to) each other on the colour wheel (as pictured above) to create some drama.
Use Colour Contrasts in Containers Too
I love using coleus in containers for the wide range of contrasting colour in their foliage. Straight from the nursery, choose from the many options in contrasting colour combinations within the same plant! The chartreuse green of creeping jenny or sweet potato vines make the red tones of the coleus pop in your creations:
For full sun containers, I tend to go for purple, pink, red, blue and yellow for the “fillers” and “spillers.” Their bright colours look so summery and vivid against the various shades of green which are perfect backdrops for “thrillers” and additional “spillers.”
Choose Perennials with Contrasting Flower Colours but the Same Bloom Time
When choosing perennials for your garden beds, instead of picking matching colours, try selecting contrasting colours in plants that bloom at the same time. For example, this yellow ligularis in front of a purple clematis creates a much more eye-catching scenario than two yellow or two purple plantings.
Another great example in my yard is my collection of daylilies I have in a raised bed at the side of my house. From dark wine-red to pale peach, they are contrasting yet compliment each other beautifully!
Foliage with Contrasting Colours
Another trick to make individual plants stand out is to place contrasting foliage colours next to or in front of each other. An example here is the leaves of a purple smoke tree (that just had a haircut so will soon be much taller) behind (right now it looks like it’s inside) the bright green leaves of a hydrangea.
Try some new contrasting combinations in your garden to create some drama. Be sure to send me pictures of your combinations.
Remember, forget the matchy-matchy look, you are not wearing the plants!