Simplify with Neutral Colors

neutral colors

Take it easy, stay neutral....

Gardens are usually all about color, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. In early spring, everyone is usually ‘color-starved’ after a long, monochromatic winter. It’s just natural that you want to paint your landscape with the rainbow. That’s when using neutral colors such as gray, white, black or sometimes, brown, can reign in this kaleidoscope. Gray often acts as a soothing backdrop and helps to organize your plantings. By using neutral colors, you can simplify design decisions and create a more relaxed feel in your garden or landscape.


Shades of Gray…

Gray is a neutral color that makes most colors really pop! You can introduce neutral  tones by choosing gray containers… or add more gray, by designing with gray hardscape materials such as crushed granite, silver-gray cedar decking or concrete pavers. Neutral colors are colors that can be used with any other color without changing the effect you are trying to make in your landscape. Plus, when you use gray as a backdrop, plants become the focal point.


Going Solo…

Do you want to de-clutter and cut down on garden maintenance this spring? Here are a few tips that will help avoid garden chores and also create some curb appeal. When planting containers or designing a front yard, try to simplify your color palette and the number of plant varieties that you include. Simplify container design by planting one leafy green or one flowering shrub instead of using a variety of flower colors and textures. One beautiful specimen plant such as a flowering hydrangea or Knockout Rose will look elegant and also be easier to maintain. When you use a neutral-toned container, you'll see how the texture of the flowers and leaves become the focal point. Green can also be a neutral color in the garden (lawns, trees and groundcovers) that can quiet down or anchor your landscape design. An evergreen, boxwood shrub offers bold shapes in summer and winter and won’t ‘fight’ with other colors. Watering and general care is easier with one plant variety or shrub, too. Pair boxwood shrubs, a swath of green groundcover such as pachysandra with one other color. You are on your way to creating a soothing sanctuary and keeping maintenance to a minimum.



Easy Care Containers: Start with a gray, black or white container (The larger the pot, the less you have to water.)

One Shrub & Hosta Container: As the main event, plant a floriferous, blue hydrangea (or your favorite color). Pair with three hosta plants with white margins. The hosta leaves will unfurl and cradle the large billowing hydrangea flowers. Part shade or dappled sun is perfect for both.

Solo Boxwood: Select your favorite boxwood… whether it’s a triple pom-pom topiary or just a single globe, boxwood look great in pots in all seasons. They don't demand much care except watering and trimming, if you like a tidier look.


Fragrance and One Color in One Container

Lavender: ‘Hidcote’ English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’) has deep purple-blue blossoms and grows in tidy mounds from 18-20-inches tall… perfect for containers, window boxes or edging a walkway. The fragrant flowers are edible and will attract butterflies, bees but repel rabbits and deer. Lavender blooms from mid- to late-summer. Plant lavender abundantly in pots on a sunny spot. Perfect idea for small spaces or mass plantings.

Light: full to part sun

Best features: Lavender is a calming, essential oil. Relaxing colors. Use freshly cut or dried.

Water: Water deeply in a well-draining soil.