Using Color Palettes for Outdoor Planting

This morning, it was snowing.  In Atlanta, that’s right up there with seeing the Loch Ness Monster making out with Big Foot.  It’s enough to turn your head.

Despite the weather, I’m full-on jonesing for spring.  The pattern for Georgia weather pretty much goes like this:

So if I’m right, we’re about to warm up big-time.  And that means spring flowers, that godawful smell from the pear tree next to my house, and pollen so bad that it leaves yellow streaks after the rain (and swollen, itchy eyes for yours truly).  But still… spring flowers.  And sundresses.  Which also means I can finally get some sunlight on my bare legs (that post is coming, as soon as it stops giving me the heebies from overshare).

Anywho (by the way, love the first urban dictionary definition of this word), it’s time to start thinking about spring flowers and the front garden area again.  With everything that goes on inside the house, I pretty much neglect the exterior every winter.

It’s a bad habit, but I’m doing my best.  My neighbors are all coming out of hibernation like me, and I don’t want to be the last one on the block to have a spring garden this year.  So, naturally, I turn to the internet for help.  I’m working on a page for the blog to give you the lowdown on every paint color I’ve used, and found myself on the Behr website (I’ve used a lot of colors from this brand or matched other brands to this paint).  When I began compiling a swatch for the house exterior colors, I thought, hmm – why not use this tool to see what flower colors will go with the new exterior paint?

The whole thing is pretty simple:  the biggest color is the house color, Basketry.  I also put in the two accent colors for the trim (Rustic Cream) and the front door (Night Shade).  Next, I simply let the color tool work its magic and suggest 8 different options, and zeroed in on the ones that looked most like an actual flower color (i.e., avoiding the greens and browns and looking at the purples).

So, according to the results, various shades of purple would be good.  Guess my instincts were right when I planted my first garden out here (the fall plants lasted two years but have since died off and gotten scraggly, so I ripped them out a few weeks ago).  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Besides being purple, all three of these plants have some other factors that I think are crucial to my garden:  for one, they can all grow in Georgia and can handle the sun; and two, they are each relatively low maintenance.  I’m thinking lavender and phlox would be great on the side of the house (where the sun hits hardest).  And pansies have been very good to me in the past (read:  I planted them, and they never needed me again).  I think planting them in the front garden and near the mailbox would be an excellent mix of color (since they come in varieties where they have white centers, yellow centers, and shades of purple will vary and mix).

Pretty easy, huh?  As soon as the weather starts cooperating, this will be a great little afternoon project.  How about you?  Are you thinking spring yet?

Comments

  1. says

    Wow, you are putting a lot of thought into your garden! I have lots of pinks, blues, and whites. But accidentally there must have been some miscolored tulips in the mix because I spotted a yellow one and some red ones. Cheaters! ;-)

    PS I just fired up the oven. To make it nice and cozy for the loch ness monster / big foot make-out session.

    • Sarah says

      I have a few tulips that pop up as part of the former owner’s garden. they just appear unexpectedly while I’m trying to plant other things. I’m glad that they are so low-maintenance though – so many of the things I’ve tried have been a little underwhelming. Someday I hope I’ve got my green thumb!

  2. says

    Thanks for the laugh–not at your garden but the first definition of “anywho”. I have never seen the Urban dictionary before! At first I read a few and was amused, then realized….innapropriate!!! OH MY!!! I do like the first definition though! And for our tan home with black shutters my choice of color was JUST green and white with a touch of purple. We have shade so very limited. I hate hydrangeas–unless you have a killer house and they are white and look perfect. Forget the blue, pnk, purple. We have had phlox and lavender in a previous home and were easy to work with. Good luck–cna’t wait to see the after!! And can you do a full front view of your home–not sure if I have seen it (newer to the site). Hope you did awesome on your exam(s)!

      • says

        Yes, thank you! I actually remember the top part that wasn’t finished and your comments about that. Sorry I forgot but thanks for reminding me. I flipped through your “before” and “progress” pics. You need to pop in one of your staircase!!! You are a busy bee–keep up the great work.

  3. says

    I love purple flowers :)

    Purple Iris is gorge (wow, that looks bad) too, and once you plant the bulbs, it’s self-replicating and pretty much fool-proof. AND you have pretty cutting flowers to boot! I’m planting a bunch on the naked corner (that of course DH doesn’t know about yet).

    • Sarah says

      Haha yeah I always thought “gorge” looks bad but I use it all the time. Thanks for the idea about the iris! I’ll check it out.

  4. says

    My favorite minimal fuss flower are flowing petunias. While you do have to pop off the dead ones every few days, they start small and spread over a large area and mine usually last June – October with no problem. They come in white, purple, pinks, reds – the colors are all over and my favorite for outside :)

  5. Emily says

    The mandatory planting for the house is one tree in the front yard and three bushes in front of the porch. Last year, our tree snapped during a storm with crazy wind, so we have to replace it this year. I want two red maples, one for front and one in back where we have direct sun that makes it a little hard to use the back yard. I have also been stock piling bulbs. My favorites are tulips, lilies, and columbine, but I’ll try anything that’s a perennial. While I give some thought to color coordinating with the front of the house, nothing’s going to stop me from having both purple lilac and blue hydrangeas. The priority is to have what you like and can actually take care of. I go through gardening in fits and spurts, so anything that needs babying is out. And annuals are against my religion.

  6. says

    Get your pansies now – they are usually a Georgia cold weather plant! :) Walking Irises are perennial and REALLY GOOD to those with brown thumbs (me). They die every winter and now (march-ish) get these beautiful green stems with large purple flowers several times a year. BEAUTIFUL.

    • Sarah says

      Ha, shows what I know about plants! I’ll just get stuff that will look good for the summer. Thanks for the tip!

  7. says

    I dread the day I actually have to figure out how to decorate a front yard. I just don’t have an eye for those types of things. If I go to the greenhouse with my mom…I just point at random things and say “How about this?” I just don’t see how some flowers are ugly and what not. Or which kinds go together? Luckily I live in an apartment at the moment so I’ve got some time to learn.

  8. Sabina says

    The phylloxera, will be good, but that really is a ground cover and very VERYlow to the ground. Lavender is a great choice, and will add a wonderful fragrance. Second the thought of iris – maybe add some yellow as well. We’re in VA, and pansies are only for fall, they get too “leggy” in the spring so I wouldn’t recommend them. Instead maybe some euchanacia (cone flower) in purple or white. Lots of luck !

  9. says

    Haha – glad someone else hates that smell. I compare the smell coming off the pear tree in our front yard to “rotting shrimp”!

    Purple in a garden is awesome. Add some orange!

  10. Linzy says

    Looks great! I love all of the purple in my garden, especially salvia and allium (though my zone is quite a bit different from yours…) Just be sure to plant that phlox in a spot where it has room to breathe and rain or moisture doesn’t linger. No matter the zone, phlox paniculata can get powdery mildew like no one’s business. But that is really their only flaw. In the right spot they are super non-fussy, bloom for a very long time, and if you don’t get the right spot right away, you can move them around until you do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>