12 Simple Ways to Add Color to Your Outdoor Space

Bring your landscape to life with colorful details such as furniture, pots, and plantings.

houzz logo smallCourtesy Houzz

Injecting color into the landscape doesn’t have to be difficult or a budget-buster—and color can come from a variety of sources. In furniture, garden art, paint, pots, tile and, of course, plants, the impact color has on the landscape cannot be understated. Here are 12 simple ways that you can add refreshing hues outside.

Outdoor-Color-1Linden L.A.N.D. Group, original photo on Houzz

1. Select colorful outdoor furniture. Sitting areas and tables often serve as focal points in the landscape, which makes them great places to add color. As a less expensive option, trade in tan and brown cushions for new ones in eye-catching colors or add pillows to your existing seat cushion.

2. Bring in colorful pots. One of the easiest ways to create a more colorful garden is to incorporate containers in shades of blue, magenta, orange, purple or even red. This is an opportunity to create a striking color variation. Pairing colorful containers with plants prized for their foliage, such as herbs, hostas, and succulents, is another easy way to create vibrant interest in the landscape. Planters can also provide badly needed color in a shady front entry where flowers won’t grow but a nice green shade-loving plant will.

Outdoor-Color-2Sarah Greenman, original photo on Houzz

3. Add an outdoor rug to your deck or patio. Don’t overlook the opportunity to add interest at ground level by bringing in a rug with a pleasing design in shades that will enhance your outdoor dining or seating areas.

Outdoor-Color-3Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

4. Paint a wall in an eye-catching color. A can of paint and a couple of hours are all it takes to infuse the landscape with a rich hue. Paint an exterior or garden wall for a dramatic difference. Above, you see common sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) and Santa Rita prickly pear (Opuntia santa-rita) planted in front of a colorful wall. When selecting a paint color, choose one that will complement the surrounding area, including outdoor furniture and plants. A color wheel can help you decide whether to go with a complementary or analogous color. While some homeowners associations don’t allow brightly colored walls on building exteriors, you may be able to paint parts of the landscape not visible from the road.

Outdoor-Color-4Landmark Construction, original photo on Houzz

5. Incorporate decorative tiles. Tile comes in many different colors and designs, which makes it a great material to add color to outdoor structures such as stairs, kitchen countertops, or water features, or it can be used to create a mural.

6. Use colorful outdoor decor. Garden art can handle the weather extremes of the outdoors while adding interest to the landscape. Examples include colorful stepping stones, mosaic art, and the popular Talavera pottery, to name just a few.

Outdoor-Color-5Christian Rice Architects, Inc., original photo on Houzz

7. Brighten up a bare wall with a mural. This is an especially helpful tip if space is limited, as a mural takes up no ground space and adds both color and interest to an outdoor wall. Whether you add plants to the landscape by painting them on the wall or create the illusion of a framed piece of art, a mural can be a great way to dress up the outdoors.

8. Decorate the outdoors with colorful, flower-filled pots. Another one of the easiest and most fulfilling ways to add color to the outdoors is to incorporate flowering plants in containers. These miniature gardens not only beautify their surroundings, but they can also be moved to other locations and changed out seasonally to whatever suits you at a given time. Hanging flower baskets add color at a higher level and can be used to frame a view from a window.

Outdoor-Color-6Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

9. Add color toward an entry with flowering plants. A group of flowering plants draws the eye toward an entry — and can also increase curb appeal. You can do this by adding pots filled with flowering annuals or creating a bed filled with blooming plants in the front yard. In this garden, a raised bed has been created out of a retaining wall and filled with pink geraniums.

10. Add flowers to your vegetable beds. Plant cosmos, marigolds and nasturtiums in with your vegetables. Seasonal favorites such as sweet alyssum, lobelia, petunias, and violas also do well in vegetable gardens. They not only add lovely color but attract pollinators.

11. Look beyond flowers to plants with vibrant foliage. Colorful foliage isn’t limited to fall. Many plants provide year-round color other than green through their foliage for dramatic interest long after the flowers have faded.

12. Look for new areas to add color. Take a few minutes to walk through your garden and try to see it through a different set of eyes—you can also ask a friend to do this for you. You may discover a new area to add plants.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest