Published: 11 June 2024

Green is at the heart of every garden. It’s the baseline of foliage that supports almost every flower. It’s soothing and appealing, and comes in so very many shades. But one of the banes of us gardeners is that we always want more. Green is rarely enough to make us feel that our gardens are giving their all. But finding ways to bring more colour into your outside space is often harder than many people think. So, what can you do?

How to Bring Colour to Your Garden

The only rule is that there are no rules

Well. Kind of. The thing about gardening is that you need to create the garden that you’ll enjoy. So, for some people, that means selecting a rigid colour palette. Choosing materials and plants that create a cohesive aesthetic that blends beautifully without even a pebble out of place. For others, that means colour chaos. Selecting plants that make you smile and placing them where they’re happy. Regardless of whether the colours clash. Only you can say which garden style is for you. And no one else has the right to judge it.

Look beyond the flowers

When you think of colourful gardens, it’s the abundant blooms that tend to come to mind. But colour can come in many forms. It’s in your paving. It’s in your planters. You can bring in colour through your seating or by painting your shed. You can add adornments to your borders and your boundaries. And at night, you can use lights to bring colour to the darkness.

Four ways to use plants to keep your garden colourful throughout the year

Think foliage

Leaves don’t always have to be green. If you shop around, you can find a whole range of plants with leaves capable of bringing a riot of colour to your garden throughout the year. The heuchera family is the perfect example, with a whole rainbow of foliage shades and delicate flower spikes to boot. Coleus and canna are fantastic summer foliage plants. Sambucus nigra can give you incredible, lace-like rich black leaves and a mop of pink flowers (ideal for making elderflower cordial). While hebe will give you pink and purple leaves throughout winter, and red filberts will give you deep purple leaves in spring, which gradually turn green as summer progresses.

Bring in the bark

Bark is another way to bring an element of colour to your garden. You can select trees like the silver birch with its gorgeous white papery bark. Or prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry), which carries an almost metallic sheen to its copper and ruby trunk. While the bark of shrubs, like cornus, almost set the garden alight with their fiery red, orange, and yellow bark throughout the winter months.

Break out the bulbs

Bulbs are one of the easiest ways to ensure that your garden has colour all year round. In winter, you have snowdrops, chionodoxa, and nerine. These give way to crocus, daffodils, fritillaria, and iris, which are replaced by tulips, allium, and endless others. Right up to Colchicum as autumn begins to take hold. There are bulbs for every season and every garden. And if your soil is too wet and heavy, use pots to make a display, tailored to your bulbs needs.

Enjoy evergreens

Although we don’t always value green in summer, in winter, evergreens really earn their keep. At Holker, we love topiary, and the majesty it brings to the winter garden in particular. But as well as the cypress, box, and firs, there are a whole range of evergreen plants that can bring your winter garden to life. You have the variegated euonymus for interest. Andromeda provides groundcover. And as well as beautifully scented blooms in spring, daphne delivers foliage year-round. These are just a few potential options that can bring a world of difference to your winter garden. With a little research, you can find many, many more.

Gardening should be personal. So, we’re not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. If you want to bring colour to your garden year-round, you have plenty of ways to do so. You just have to choose the style that most suits you.

Looking for garden inspiration? Why not come along and see what’s bringing colour to the Holker Hall gardens this season?