Good-bye, wimpy garden colors! So long, namby-pamby landscaping! Say hello to all things bold in your garden. Now, don’t get into a panic — not everything needs to be bold, but for sure you don’t want everything to fade passively into the background. Here are some ideas to try — and repeat after me: Baby Steps. Baby Steps. Baby Steps.
1. Bold Color. Choose one, and only one. No pastels, no mixed shades. One color. Hot red, tropical orange, bright yellow, saturated blue, quirky purple. Use it in one part of your garden, say, at your entryway, and make no apologies. One strong color makes a much stronger impact than some Don’t-Mind-Me Shrinking Violet of a color.
2. Bold Accents. Not everything in your garden needs to pop. It can, but it doesn’t have to. Look at this little garden area — the owner, my friend Shawna, added a brightly colored bench and some funky accessories on her fence, creating a “look at me” sitting area for her family and neighbors. All your plantings around it can be more subdued, so your eye goes right to the pop of color.
3. Bold Plants. Lots of plants have bold shapes, sizes, foliage color or flower power. The are the garden show-offs, and every garden needs a few to liven things up. In my area, I love the structure of cacti and succulents — they have those front-and-center kinds of forms that play well with other, softer plants. Other great choices are all the tropicals — cannas, elephant ears, split-leaf philodendron, Bird of Paradise — strongly structured evergreens like topiary, formal hedges and columnar shapes, as well as traditional plants like roses (choose a larger variety, though), dahlias and irises.
4. Bold Structures. Got a garden shed, a chicken coop, a greenhouse or retaining wall? Paint one of them a strong color, like this coop door above. It would be a bit of overkill to paint the entire chicken coop a bright tangerine color (unless you’re going for some shock value or artsy statement, then go for it), so the owner (that would be me) chose to focus on a high-contrast and bold color palette for the antique door. Not sure about painting the shed? How about simply changing out the door color, or adding some bold trim color? Remember what I said — Baby Steps.
Check out some other bold garden ideas from my colleagues on the Roundtable, below. And please leave your comments to share how you create boldness in your garden — we’d love to hear about it!