Outdoor Color Beyond Flowers

colorful coleus a show-stopper!

Bringing colorful designs to the indoor and outdoor landscape usually “requires” a mix of flowers and tropical foliage.

To create colorful designs with only foliage think out of the box, think odd and keep these few color tips in mind.

Here’s a few color design tips you can use in the backyard landscape, in container gardens indoors with houseplants or outdoors… remember these are tips not rules!

First, odd numbers of plants in the same color range and massed create a show-stopping effect.

Bringing colorful designs to the indoor and outdoor landscape usually “requires” a mix of flowers and tropical foliage. To create colorful designs with only foliage think out of the box, think odd and keep these few color tips in mind.

These color design tips can be a base for townhouse landscaping ideas, in container gardens indoors or outdoors… but remember these are only a few tips not rules! Get creative!

First, odd numbers of plants in the same color range and massed create a show-stopping effect.

Mimic The Sun

Plants with gold and yellow look like nature’s artist “dropped” a little sunlight into the painter palette. These bright colors create a “wow” effect. Brightly colored Crotons or a bed of Coleus stop people in their tracks.

To create an intense color effect pair up gold and yellow plants with red or orange-leaved plants. To expand the landscape adding landscape lights.

Easy on the Variegated

When using variegated plants pick them with care. The problem with many variegated is in the almost endless patterns that may offer. This makes them difficult to use.

The best way to take advantage of variegated plants is to pick one leaf color use the variegated plant as a companion plant for that color.

Mixing It Up

Stay away from using plants with leaves roughly the same size, shape and texture next to each other. Use different leaf textures to create contrast.

Show Passion with Purple

Red is the common thread running through the colors of bronze,red, black and purple leaves. Bronze leaves can be difficult to use in the landscape creating a dull look or hole in the garden.

When planting plants with bronze leaves use them in areas where the sun will hit them from the side or behind to reflect the highlights of red.


Pair up bright colored plants like purple plants with light colored foliage or blue-gray foliage.

Flowers are wonderful to enjoy and add a blast of unique beauty to a garden, backyard or patio area.

But don’t forget — flowers are short-lived and you must wait on them to appear in season.

Foliage on the other hand can be tropical looking, long lasting, long term and instantaneous, plus light up any corner to create a focal point.

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jimmie king July 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I have a bird of paridise plant. What can I do to make it bloom? It has about 6 plants in a lg 14 inch pot. I try to keep it moist by watering often and have put super bloom on it, but so far it has not worked. I gets good inderect light 1/2 day and bright sun in the evening. what am I doing wrong or is there something else I could do? I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you jimmie