Garden Ideas: Choosing a Garden Color Scheme to Enhance your Overall Garden Design

Designing a Garden Color Scheme is Easier Than it Looks with Hortisketch

By Gina LiVorio Posted on 4/4/2022

When planning your garden design, it’s easy to get lost in the details and overlook the big picture. When it comes to choosing colors, many gardeners have a ‘the more, the better’ approach, some have a more subtle approach, and many fall somewhere in the middle. Color schemes don’t have to be overly complicated; they just streamline your color ideas and make them tie your garden together in a cohesive way.

The first question to ask yourself when designing your gardening color scheme is what is the overall vibe of your garden, or mood you’re trying to achieve? Are you going for a Zen approach to your garden, with muted colors and earthy tones? Or are you going for a bolder and more vibrant garden with a ‘wow factor’? When it comes down to it, the goals you have for your gardening will greatly impact the color scheme.

Why Choose a Garden Color Scheme?

pink iris

Gardens with too much color can feel cluttered. Limiting your garden to four or five colors is a good general rule of thumb, and beyond that the color decisions are entirely up to your personal preferences. Putting a limit on the variety of colors chosen for your garden will create more harmony.

Tips for Choosing a Garden Color Scheme

flowers in field

Keep reading for our best tips for choosing a garden color scheme, which keeps your palette orderly without restraining the color diversity of your garden.

Start with a Main Color

Once the tone of your garden is established, choose a main color as a starting point. Whether it’s a dark, bright or pale color, choosing this main color will help determine a color scheme to expand upon. Choose blues for a more serene garden feeling, dark colors for a moody garden design or vibrant, bold colors like red for an energizing feeling.

Use the Color Wheel

After choosing a main color, the color wheel will help you figure out a color scheme to go with it. Neutral colors like white, browns, greys and black can be used alongside any color on the color wheel. You can stay safe while using colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, which is referred to as low contrast colors, or use high contrasting colors for more of a bold statement.

Analogous, Monochromatic, Complementary, Split-Complementary, Triadic, Tetradic

There are a few different terms that describe how to use the color wheel; analogous, monochromatic, complementary, split-complementary, triadic, and tetradic color schemes.

  • Analogous color schemes are colors that are close together on the color wheel.
  • Monochromatic color schemes are different shades of the same color.
  • Complementary color schemes are made up of two opposite colors.
  • Split-Complementary uses the two colors adjacent to its complementary color.
  • Triadic color schemes are made up of colors that are evenly spaced out on the color wheel.
  • Tetradic color schemes are comprised of two complementary pairs of four colors.

Incorporate Texture

Adding texture to your landscape goes hand in hand with choosing a color scheme. Plants and flowers come in many sizes, textures and colors, and your garden can drastically change depending on how you pair these three elements of garden design. Not only does choosing a color scheme significantly impact the look and feel of your garden, how you incorporate texture into that garden design will have a similar impact.

Consider Garden Size

The size of your garden can influence your color scheme, because certain colors can make your garden look bigger or smaller. Depending on your garden design goals, choose your colors wisely. Light colors give the illusion that the space is bigger, while darker colors will close it in.

Choose a Garden Color Scheme with Garden Savvy’s Hortisketch Garden Planner

Planning out your garden’s color scheme in your head will not do your garden plan justice. To truly visualize your garden’s color scheme, use Garden Savvy’s Hortisketch tool to see it come alive on your screen.

Hortisketch allows you to build your garden at your leisure. We offer a complete set of design icons including: vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, fencing, pools, and more! Simply drag and drop your desired flowers, vegetables, fruits and more onto your gardening space. Drag and drop your plants to decide on the best color scheme for your garden design goals. It couldn’t be easier!


Gardeners grow at Garden Savvy! We provide gardeners with the best tools to plan a garden, organize a garden, and research a garden, with Hortisketch, our Garden Manager and our catalog of gardening Suppliers. Get started on your dream garden today.