Warm colors… Stand out from a distance Give the impression of warmth or power Create a sense of urgency or excitement Are good if the landscape is meant to impress Cool Colors… Disappear at a distance Create a soothing feeling Are good if the landscape is meant for escape
Analogous Color Schemes are those that consist of 2-4 colors immediately near each other on a color wheel These create a more peaceful or soothing atmosphere Complementary Color Schemes incorporate two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel E.g. yellow/orange and violet/blue These create an exciting and eye-catching design
Monochromatic Color Schemes have only one color, but this color exists in multiple shades and tints. This is seen as a sophisticated form of color selection but is very difficult to get exactly right The fewer colors used, the more classical or professional a design will feel (unless it is monotonous) Polychromatic Color Schemes include colors from throughout the color wheel Green foliage acts as a harmonizer and enables many colors to look good together The more colors you add, the more simplistic and carefree a design will feel
Your selection of colors should reflect your designs goals Are you trying to be calm or exciting? Eye-catching or relaxing? Professional or Partying?
Eye-CatchingPeaceful or Serene ColorsWarmCool Color SchemesComplementaryAnalogous Amount of ColorPolychromaticMonochromatic ShadesLighterDarker
For each plant in your design, you may want to include a symbol that denotes its texture at a glance Texture – smooth (like a gumdrop) or jagged (like an evergreen)? Your design should incorporate an effective use of multiple textures; you will want a balance between variety and repetition Texture is particularly important for perennials when they are not in bloom
Texture refers to the visual pattern made by the parts of the plants Coarse textured plants such as hostas or rhubarb stand out from a distance; their leaves can clearly be seen from far away Fine-textured plants appear more like a solid mass from a distance and create a solid mat of color E.g. grass
Large leaves usually mean the plant will have a coarse texture (e.g. bean plants or rhubarb) Lacy, feathery leaves or divided leaves usually create a finer texture (ferns, lobelia) Leaves with variegated edges (multi-colored) are coarser than leaves of one solid color This is because the leaf edge stands out more E.g. Hosta, Coleus Highly reflective or shiny leaves are also coarser because of the sharp contrast between dark and light shades.
When selecting plants, you will want to pick and assortment that… Fits within your budget Will not create excess needs for care and maintenance Will meet the goals created by your client (or you) Will create non-chaotic variety and non- monotonous repetition Your first consideration is to find plants that will thrive in the conditions present at your site.
While a landscape design is meant to fulfill a persons goals, plants that immediately die because they are not suited to the site are rarely within someones goals For this reason, survivability in the site conditions should be the first consideration Begin by avoiding pictures – they will always make the plant look good Instead, analyze the needs and growing conditions of each plant. Be sure to also consult more than one source to verify the needs of each plant
The three main considerations in selecting plants that will thrive are Sunlight – Full, Partial, or Shade? Soil – Sand, Clay, or Silt? Water – Dry, Moist, or Wet? Often this is directly related to soil conditions If a plant does not meet the sun, soil, or water criteria of your site, immediately disregard it (and certainly do not look at its picture!)
Do not allow existing plants to have any more consideration than new plants Treat existing plants as if they only existed in the catalog you are paging through Put them on your final list only if they meet the criteria of the site and your designs overall goals
Notes about catalog descriptions – Flower size/fragrance/color – always look for a picture of a whole plant; close-ups of blooms can be misleading Season of bloom – take claims about long-season blooms with a grain of salt Hardiness- refers only to cold-weather resistance, not other environmental factors Durability/Vigor – overall health and stamina; vigorous plants tend to be the last to succumb to problems Speed of Growth- slow growers are often longer- lived and require less work once established
Do not allow to dry out – will thrive in moist soils or areas by a downspout Does particularly well in dry soils – can tolerate drought or dry soils but will easily rot if over-watered Cut back in late winter/after flowering – will be ugly at some point if not pruned Deadhead regularly – old flowers must be removed to keep up appearances Mulch well in cold areas – extra work in late fall! Lift and Divide Regularly – extra spring pruning is needed; additional time and maintenance Slow to Establish – long-lived but probably higher maintenance plant Protect from Early Frost – more work!
Begin by making a long list of all the plants in consideration that can survive in your landscapes conditions and meet your most basic goals It is a good idea to write the botanical name as well as the common name as sometimes multiple species can be called by the same common name Also record the details of each plant to narrow your list (color, size, price, etc.) Be sure to also consider the leaf color! About 10 plants is a good start – too many plants at once is too overwhelming Choose 10 plants from your will survive list that are the right price, the right color, and the right size
While the cost of annuals will most likely be less, you will make up for this in terms of your cost of time and labor A perennial, while more expensive, will provide more for the same cost with its continual return each year A mix of annuals and perennials is often ideal for most designs, but this is entirely dependent on the goals of your client (or you if its your own home).
An easy way to consider whether or not specific color combinations will work is to imagine those colors in clothing. In other words, would a combination of colors work in a wardrobe? If not, then they probably wont work in a garden either Use surrounding materials as guides for choosing color schemes – narrow your list by excluding plants whose colors would not go with the already-existing colors
Consider your lighting – dark or shady areas will benefit from light or bright colored flowers such as white, pastel, or yellow blooms Areas that are sunny can gain depth and contrast by using dark and light plants The main color in your focal point should be repeated throughout your landscape (but not too much!)
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