Color in plants plays an important role in landscape design. There’s nothing quite like walking through a vibrant and colorful garden to make your day just a little bit better. 

In fact, color can benefit our mental health in major ways, from reducing stress, to improving sleep patterns, to boosting energy levels.

In addition to the psychological benefits, strategic landscape color schemes can help draw the eye toward desired features, increase property value, add dimension to your outdoor space, and even attract wildlife.

With the right approach, you can maintain your colorful landscape all year round. We’re here to break down the best strategies to help you create colorful landscaping for every season!

Design Principles for Year-Round Color

If you want to create a truly year-round colorful outdoor space in Portland, even in the winter, it’s important to keep some key landscape design principles in mind. Here are a few tips:

  • Work with your landscape designer to develop a seasonal plant rotation.
  • Choose your favorite colors.
  • Utilize native plants in your design.
  • Incorporate edible plants in your garden design to add variety of color and texture.
  • Keep the color wheel in mind to build complementary color schemes.
  • Use evergreen plants, shrubs, and trees whenever possible.
  • Opt for low-maintenance plants to accommodate your changing schedule throughout the year.
  • Consider the vibrancy of color, not just the hue.

Landscape Color Ideas

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Use green as your anchor color.

Not every landscape includes an abundance of greenery. But most do, especially in the Pacific Northwest where mighty evergreens thrive. Green foliage is what we expect to see in natural environments and residential landscapes. It can be used as an anchor in your garden, almost like a backdrop for the rest of your colors.

But green can also play a central role in a vibrant design. In fact, it’s possible to create beautiful landscape color schemes by only using different shades of green.

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Opt for many colors, or just one or two.

The variety and concentrations of the colors you use in your landscape really come down to personal preference. 

If you want to create an organized and peaceful design, then using one or two colors can offer visual intrigue without overwhelming your senses. On the other hand if your goal is to create an ultra-vibrant and natural-looking landscape architecture, using many different contrasting colors can help add extra excitement to your outdoor spaces.

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Use a combination of primary and secondary colors.

One of the simplest ways to use color is to pair primary colors with secondary ones. If you’re not familiar with the color wheel, here’s what you need to know about primary and secondary colors:

  • Primary colors: There are only three primary colors, and they are red, blue, and yellow; these colors are the purest colors as they can’t be made from combinations of other colors and all other colors are combinations of these three colors.
  • Secondary colors: There are three main secondary colors, which are orange, green, and purple; all other colors (called “tertiary” colors) are combinations of the primary and secondary colors.

By using a combination of bold, primary colors and less vibrant shades of secondary and tertiary colors, you create depth and dimension in your landscape.

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Let nature be your inspiration.

Landscaping is about blending the beauty of the natural, wild environment with the man-made one. As you select colors and textures, let nature inspire you. For example, a combination of reds, yellows, and oranges can create the warm feeling of a tropical sunset. Mixing blues, teals, purples, and turquoises might resemble an underwater ocean scene. Darker shades of green and brown can create the feeling of a natural forest.

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Use color to evoke specific feelings.

Most of us can recognize that different colors evoke certain emotions. In fact, colors can have a number of cultural, psychological, and spiritual associations. When choosing a seasonal color scheme for your landscape design, it’s important to consider not just how each color looks, but also how they make you feel.

Here are some beautiful landscape colors and the emotions and ideas they inspire:

  • Blue: relief, wisdom, peace
  • Red: passion, danger, strength
  • Yellow: happiness, excitement, hope
  • Green: growth, health, abundance
  • White: freshness, rebirth, serenity
  • Orange: warmth, kindness, adventure
  • Pink: love, compassion, softness
  • Purple: mystery, ambition, power

Selecting the Right Plants

Choosing the right plants is an essential component of maintaining a colorful landscape throughout the year. When making selections, it’s important to consider your local planting zone and work with your landscape designer to choose plants that thrive in your area. 

One of the best ways to maintain beautiful landscape color schemes throughout the year is to create a seasonal plant rotation. Here are a few suggestions for plants that tend to thrive in each season:

  • Spring: bleeding hearts, clematis, daffodils, daisies, magnolias, pansies, roses, and rhododendrons
  • Summer: begonias, butterfly bushes, crape myrtle, daylilies, geranium, hydrangeas, lilac, marigolds, roses, sunflowers, and weigela
  • Fall: asters, pansies, blue sage, chrysanthemum, and fuchsias
  • Winter: all evergreens, flowering kale and cabbage, hellebores, holly, and witch hazel

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Incorporating Hardscape Elements

There are two reasons to include hardscape elements like patios and pathways in your colorful landscape design:

  1. Hardscapes make navigating through and spending time in your landscape more enjoyable throughout the year, especially if you include covered areas.
  2. You can add additional vibrancy with colorful or textured hardscaping features.

When we think about hardscapes, we generally think of porches and patios that are connected to our homes. But you don’t have to limit your hardscaping to this. Think about adding a winding pathway through your landscape that leads to a covered patio in a back corner of your garden. Add a comfortable chair or two and a fire pit, and you have a new cozy space to enjoy your colorful backyard throughout the year!

Maintenance Tips for a Vibrant Garden

You can incorporate all the colorful gardening tips and evergreen landscape ideas in the world. But one of the most important things you can do to keep your garden looking vibrant all year long is to be consistent about landscape maintenance.

Here are a few maintenance tips for vibrant color and healthy plants throughout the year:

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Enhance Your Home With Lasting Landscape Beauty

At Blessing Landscapes, we work with local Portland homeowners and commercial property owners to create landscapes that are as practical as they are beautiful. Personalized and well-designed landscape services have the power to stimulate all of your senses.

From vibrant purples and cool blues to cheerful yellows and deep reds, color can have a real impact on the look of your landscape and even your quality of life.

If you’re ready to create a vibrant landscape that lasts all year round, we’re here to help. As a full-service landscaping company in Portland, our award-winning team can help you design, install, and maintain the landscape of your dreams. 

Contact us to set up a consultation today, and browse our gallery to see our work!