Asked October 25, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

I am putting in a large blue and purple flower garden at the back if my yard .There will be green from foliage, but should I use any other color for contrast. My yard is 250 ft by 100 ft white house and shed green trim and shutters, pool ,patio, and 7 mature shade and 3 large blue spruce trees fenced in. I am starting with the back of the property ,I live in mid Michigan.

Genesee County Michigan master gardener program

1 Response

Hello, --- Yes, I think choosing an accent color is a good idea. With purples/blues just about any color can be used as an accent. Popular is yellow- many flower choices and many foliage plant choices are yellow; it works well in shaded or sunny garden sites. Orange would work too, though if a strong orange is used, it should be used with some restraint so as not to overpower the whole garden. Pink can be used and there are many choices. White will give contrast and is neutral so as to keep the overall blue-purple ‘cool’ effect. Red can be used, but like orange, if too bright it can overpower—and red in a shaded garden tends to ‘black out’ and not show up very well from a distance. So, choose a favorite color as an accent. Start with just one accent color; the more colors you choose the more complex the design becomes. Ideas to help you choose: --- 1- try putting annuals of your accent color in containers, set them in spots in the garden, and view them for awhile to see how you like the color and the location they are in. Then choose perennials (or plant annuals if you like) of that color. 2-Use a favorite photo, or perhaps a favorite item from your wardrobe --- like a scarf, or a man’s tie--- with the desired colors; use these colors in the garden. 3- Do some research using library books and magazines. Keep a notebook of favorite color combinations. --- Now, before choosing specific plants, as you may know, you need to determine: your soil type ( sandy – clay – pH – nutrient and organic matter), amount of sun or shade, amount of water, are deer/rabbit resistant plants needed?, is the amount of plant maintenance critical? Flint, MI is Plant Hardiness zone 6- you will need to choose perennials hardy to your zone. --- All of these factors will determine your plant choices and help make your garden a success. --- Here are some links and references to help you: --- There are many books available at the library, here are a few that have discussions of color and design--- Midwest Home Landscaping by R. Holmes; Perennial Garden: Flowers for 3 Seasons by P. Lima – The Well-designed Mixed Garden by T. Disabato-Aust. The library should have gardening magazines to help you, too. --- Links --- --- --- --- You can do searches on the internet using key words for plant lists on what you decide; for example --- ‘Yellow flowers for sunny sites’ or ‘Pink flowering perennials for shade’ --- Also, remember to use plants in groups of 3, 5, or 7 or more, depending on the size area you need to cover and the size of the plants. If you are viewing that part of the garden from a distance of 30 feet or more, you will need larger groupings for them to show up at that distance. --- I hope this gets you started. Once you have some specifics on soil type, amount of sun, moisture available, etc… and a color choice, you can write back to us and we can help you find specific plants that will grow in the your garden’s conditions. Thank you for using our service.