March 16 2012 12:17 AM
When picking colors, it’s important to remember that annuals do much more than paint a landscape. Color creates mood. And different colors create different moods. Red is a dominant color and is said to stimulate the appetite, so try planting red flowers around outdoor eating and entertainment areas.

Sometimes , different shades of the same color can have opposite effects. Take pink, for example. Pink is a shade of red, but is considered relaxing. Try planting pink flowers around a gazebo or spa to create an environment where your client can kick back and feel totally relaxed. Pink flowers are often placed outside windows of office building, to be viewed by frazzled workers.

Violet flowers at an entryway or along a path leading to the home can suggest a feeling of luxury. Green can lower blood pressure and is considered restful, and it’s thought to suppress appetite.

Yellow is considered cheery— perfect for playgrounds or backyard play areas. It’s also the most visible of all the colors and the first color that the human eye notices. Use it to get attention, or distract people from things you don’t want them to see, like plumbing fixtures or air conditioning units or composting receptacles. Placing yellow flowers in a more pleasing location will draw attention away from an offending eyesore.

Of course, there’s no wrong or right when it comes to color. There’s only what is pleasing and important to your client. That’s why it’s important to find out what colors your client enjoys and what they envision for their landscape. Take a look around their home to see how color is used there. Listen to how they talk about the space they want to create. What is their style? Formal? Country? Do they like bright and bold colors? Do they like soft and subdued colors?

“Most customers are very open to suggestions because they don’t know the plants,” says Mark Starr of Texas Land Design, Whitesboro, Texas. “They rely on us. They trust us to put in a landscape that will be beautiful and easy for them. So, for color, I like to pick plants that give the most bang for the buck, like the aster. Asters are cool. Their blooms are a huge shock of purple. It’s really a showstopper.”

“Say, you had a view out your kitchen window—I’d give you something to look at,” says Adams. “I’d give you contrast to make your eye go there. The eye wants to be stimulated.”

When selecting annuals for your clients’ flower beds, the most interesting combinations come from mixing plant sizes and shapes. Texture is also important.

“Contrast of color, leaf shapes, leaf color, and the contrast of plant shapes are the things I look for. I look for crazy spikes, plants that are free flowing, or spiral-like plants, long and skinny, or round. I like to see the overall shape of a plant and also different colors,” says Starr, of his design aesthetic. “Nature does clusters and drifts, with pockets of plants. So I try to mimic what Nature does, taking my cue from her.”

“When I design a garden, it’s more important to me to know what it’s going to look like when it’s not flowering. It really needs to have good structure, good bones; it needs to hold up when its not at its showiest,” Meadowbrook says. “But there is also beauty in the garden when it’s not flowering. The flowers are a bonus.”

Nature’s little critters love flowers, too. More and more people are requesting flowers that attract bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, migrating birds and songbirds, experts say.

“Flowers were developed to please pollinators, not humans,” explained Meadowbrook. “The color pleases people, but it’s really there to please the pollinator.”

And making homes beautiful and entertaining—that’s what landscaping with color is all about.

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