Colour is a vital factor in the garden, creating different moods depending on the way it's used.


The most predominant colour in most gardens is green, and it's sometimes the backdrop against which one colour takes the starring role – whether it's The White Garden at Sissinghurst or Hidcote Manor Garden's Red Borders.

When choosing colours, remember that white and other pale colours are best used in shade where they can be seen more clearly, whereas hot colours can be seen to best effect in bright sunlight. Watch this video on designing and planting up a border for more advice.

Browse our plant database, where you can search for plants by colour.

Check out six garden colour schemes to try in your own plot, below.


Crocosmia 'Lucifer', with its vivid-red trumpet flowers leans over clumps of dusky-red Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'. The colour is mixed with terracotta in the achillea flowers and cream in the frothy Stipa tenuissima. Throughout, chocolate cosmos punctuate. The warmth of the reds is intensified by the neutral grasses. Discover more plants with red flowers.

Red-themed border
A red-themed border, featuring crocosmia, cosmos, achillea, heleniums and grasses


Rivers of silver (artemisia), pink (Salvia 'Rose Queen') and purple in light (from the lavender) and dark (Salvia nemorosa) run through this border, creating a soft and serene effect. Harmonious plantings like this can be achieved by choosing colours near each other in the spectrum and avoiding discordant colours. Check out more purple-flowered plants.

Purple-themed border
A border of complementary pink and purple salvias and lavender with silver artemisia


Here, the pastel pinks are underpinned by a dark purple-leaved actaea at the heart of the planting, which is echoed by the purple-headed Allium sphaerocephalon. Grasses like the pink-tinged pennisetum, plus the pale-pink achillea heads, help to bring a light and feathery feel. Find more pink-flowered plants.

Pink-themed border
A border of pink flowers with feathery grasses, highlighted by dark purple actaea and alliums

Yellow and orange

A huddle of warm-yellow flowers, including heleniums, Achillea filipendulina and rudbeckias is made all the warmer by the cool-green frame provided by surrounding trees and a clump of Miscanthus 'Zebrinus'. Its spiky habit contrasts with the rounded flowerheads. Discover eight perennials for a hot border.

Yellow-themed border
Golden yellow heleniums, rudbeckias and achillea in front of yellow/green stripy miscanthus


Green and white is a classic combination that, when its constituents are carefully chosen, is one of the freshest of all plant associations. It's often best in late spring, as here, where aquilegias, tiarella and lamprocapnos (Dicentra) sit together amid the foliage of hostas and alchemilla. All combine to create a harmonious picture. Discover more plants with white flowers.

White-themed border
A beautiful border of white and green featuring a variety of contrasting leaf and flower shapes


Blue and orange are opposites and when they're in brilliant, pure tones, the effect can be startling. Here, orange kniphofias, achilleas and echinaceas are combined with silvery blue eryngiums, echinops and perovskia. Check out more plants with orange flowers and blue flowers.

Orange and blue-themed border
A striking border of contrasting orange and blue

Be adventurous

When combining colours, it pays to be adventurous. Keep your eyes open to how other gardens combine colours. Take inspiration from the colour combinations used in fabric and fashions, too, and make them work for you.