The Pick Just Two Trick

Front garden bed

Sticking to two colours, like burgundy and lime green, shown here, can make it easier to create a cohesive garden even with a variety of plants. In the front bed, the burgundy-coloured plants include, from left to right, a Purple Leaf Weigela, Japanese Maples and a Purple Leaf Sand Cherry. The lime-green plants, from left to right, include a euphorbia, Creeping Jenny and Goldflame spirea. In the back bed is Goldmound Spirea and Golden Prairie Fire Dogwood.

Sometimes I can go into a garden centre and feel like my head’s going to explode. There’s so much choice. Which is a good thing, of course. The more types of plants, the better you’ll find just the right ones for your personal paradise. But an abundance of options can also make for, well, exploding heads.

The Pick-Two Trick

Here’s a quick tip that works whether you’re starting from scratch with a newly dug flower bed or renovating a garden that needs some cohesiveness. Choose two colours as your hero colours. These colours can contrast, like the lime green and burgundy shown at right, or be complementary, like a light and a deep pink.

When you’re choosing your two colours, take the environment around you into consideration such as the look of your house. But there’s no need to be too precious about it. Choose colours you love.

Sprinkle these two colours throughout your garden or new bed. The types of plants don’t matter (so long as they all love the same degree of sun or shade and share the same water requirements). In fact, the more variety of sizes, shapes, leaf textures, etc., the better. The result will automatically look harmonious because you’ve limited yourself, to the most part, to your two colour choices.

This trick works even when you’re adding plants to a garden that’s pretty much already established. Your two hero colours will help make a jumbled garden appear more pulled together. Because you’re not limiting yourself to the type of plant, you can introduce those two colours easily in all parts of the garden.

In a new bed, you can break the two-colour rule whenever you want and the results will still look great. Another colour added to the mix instantly becomes an accent because it’ll stand out. In the photo above, you can see the just-about-to-bloom azalea with its orange-coloured flowers.

This garden design trick is one instance where less is more whether you want more or less.


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