The Use of Colour

Posted by on July 23, 2013

Subtle use of colour

Subtle use of colour

A great deal has been written about the psychology of colour, how it affects our moods and senses. Think about your visits to Namaqualand or the West Coast, the vibrant colours are breathtaking and invigorating, whilst a quiet walk in the forest is both calming and tranquil.

Faber Birren once said, “Color is the one experience in life that requires no conscious struggle of the intellect to appreciate”.

Choosing the right colour for the garden is the most rewarding, yet challenging element to work with. Just like cooking, if too many ingredients or spices are used in a dish, the meal may be inedible. Bright colours scattered throughout your garden can cause confusion for the eye, and is often disturbing to the senses.

Picking a colour scheme for your garden is a lot like composing a painting. You have to look at all the components together and make choices about compositions and colour as a whole. Elements to consider are the colour of your house, fence, existing flowering trees and shrubs. Be wary of how the colours play off each other within the whole garden. If you have ‘rooms’ within the garden and you are keen to create a ‘Sissinghurst’ effect, then you must have transitional colours between the ‘rooms’.

We use colour in the garden for the following reasons:

• To bring excitement and life to the landscape
• To emphasise areas that you want to stand out
• To form a cohesive blending of structural and soft landscaping
• To create a specific mood
• To provide interest and variety through the seasons
• To attract birds, bees and butterflies

How colour affect our senses:
White in the garden reflects purity, its creates a sophisticated ‘cool’ look, bordering on aloofness.
Yellow is a cheerful, happy colour. It is said to activate memory, stimulate the nervous system and to promote creativity (good for us oldies!)
Blue is often associated with spirituality, it evokes a sense of peace and tranquillity
Purple is suppose to stimulate the imagination and creativity
Red is the colour of drama, it is stimulating and daring
Orange is cheerful and warm, implying energy to the brain
Green is cool and soothing, also linked to freshness and life

Colour theory is based on the colour wheel, which is basically the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) bent into a circle. Particular relationships between colours give certain results. A colour wheel is a useful tool to assist gardeners in planning appropriate combinations in the garden. You can purchase colour wheel charts at any art shop, paint store or down load it from the web.

Colour Schemes that work:

A monochromatic colour scheme: This means that all the flowers are of the same colour or differing values of the same colour. A true monochromatic scheme can create a feeling of spaciousness because the eye is not interrupted by another colour. This type of scheme is simple and pleasing.
Analogous (Harmonious) scheme: Those are the colours that exist side by side on the colour wheel, such as violet and blue, green and yellow. People are normally drawn to colours that are closely related . The different shades of one or two colours adjacent to each other on the colour wheel will create a calming sense

Colour is an invaluable tool in creating the individual look we’re trying to achieve both indoors and out. Allow colour and your imagination to create your own artistic masterpiece in the garden.

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