Color Blocking by Combining Perennials and Annuals in Summer
This year in fashion, the color-blocking trend was prominent on runways from Paris to LA. This trend of combining large “blocks” or stripes of a solid color with another block (or two) of solid color, leads to eye-catching apparel and creative color combinations. It also happens to be the kind of trend that translates easily and beautifully into garden design.
One of the benefits of using both perennials and annuals in a color-blocking design is the option of no-hassle design change. If after a season, you decide you want a different color combination…or a different look altogether, just swap out the annuals.
Start by sketching out a basic layout for your bed. If you have a smaller, narrower bed, you’ll want to stick to two colors, the top half of the bed one color, the bottom the other. Horizontal lines on a narrower bed will look less choppy than several vertical lines. If your bed has more length and width, you can create lines in either direction. The important thing to remember is that you want swaths of color, but it doesn’t have to all come from the same kind of plant.
Next, select your plants. The perennials will anchor your design, so search for those with an extended summer bloom time or highly colored foliage. The plants you choose here will direct the colors and types of annuals you add. Keep in mind that annuals can also be used to fill in your beds while the perennials fill in a more permanent color-blocking design.
There are a couple of ways to combine colors in an eye-appealing way. You can choose complimentary colors (those next to each other on the color wheel) or opposite colors (those opposite on the color wheel). If you are nervous about pairing colors, keep in mind that black or white plants are always a great option for a partnership with a bold color. Below are my recommendations for a yellow and black color-blocking plant combination:
There are many ways to combine colors to make a statement. If you want to try something a bit less extreme in contrast, consider pairing white and yellow or white and green. The effect will be less dramatic, but no less beautiful.
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