Magazine article Sunset

A Splash of Color

Magazine article Sunset

A Splash of Color

Article excerpt

Paint can wake up a quiet garden corner

Color is a powerful design tool, most often introduced into a garden with flowers or accessories such as tiles and fabrics. But paint-applied to walls, paving, arbors, or even pots-can achieve remarkable results of its own.

Used carefully, colored walls and structures create different effects. Some colors seem to expand the garden; others make it smaller. Warm oranges and reds can make an outdoor space vibrate; cool blues, grays, or greens create a sense of calm.

San Francisco landscape designer Topher Delaney often uses paint to dress up her landscapes and to act as a foil for plants. To ensure that hues are compatible, Delaney chooses her paint first, then selects the plants.

Landscape architect Chad Robert of Phoenix uses strong colors to add accents to a sparse design. "The desert blooms subtly," he says. "Color from paint offers another opportunity to create interest."

So experiment. As Robert says, "If you don't like the color, you can always paint over it."

Using powerful hues

Selecting paint can be as simple as picking a color that appeals to you. But before you get carried away with lipstick red, keep in mind that a strong hue will look very intense when applied to a large area. Here are some other things you should know.

* Cool colors (blues, greens) make an object recede, as shown at right. Below, warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) bring it to the foreground.

* A simple shift in a color's shade (its lightness or darkness) can determine whether a particular combination works. …

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