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How to make a beautiful one-colour garden

Gardening By The Mirror

If you are the kind that believes in the beauty of simplicity — the kind that likes to keep it pure and clean — then a monochromatic colour scheme may just be the thing for you. Avoid the fuss of combining many colours and embrace the sophistication of just one.

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Monochromatic colour schemes use different shades, tints and tones of just one colour. As such, they are some of the easiest schemes to pull off in your garden.

Armed with the right information, you can achieve a professional look in the safety of a single colour. Here are a few tips:

Choose your colour

Because you are going to use only one colour, it is important to choose it wisely. Narrow down your range to colours that best bring out the theme of your garden.

 If you like a warm and enchanting look, go for warm colours such as the reds or yellows. If, however, you want to create a serene and calm atmosphere, then the blues and greens will do the trick.

Also consider the prevailing lighting levels in your garden. For a shaded garden, choose bright colours to bring in some light. On the other hand, if your garden is already well lit, avoid bright colours and go for a darker colour such as purple and blue to tone down the brightness.


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Black, white and grey are called neutrals. They are not considered colours per se but they largely determine the shades, tints and tones of the chosen colour.

 A colour’s shade varies depending on the amount of black in it. Its tone will depend on the amount of grey in it, while the tint will vary with the amount of white.

In short, a single colour can have a range of shades, tones, or tints from dark to light. By varying the shades of your plant colours, you can create many possibilities in the monochromatic scheme. You can contrast a light green with dark green or transition from dark to light or the other way round.

Whichever way you choose to blend your tints, shades and tones, it is hard to go wrong.

Moreover, nature offers a wide range of colour values to choose from, not to mention the numerous variegated foliage and flowers that combine pure colour with neutrals in amazing harmony.

Textural scheme

The use of strongly contrasting textures make up for the reduced colour variations in a monochromatic scheme. Texture in the landscape is determined by the size and spacing of the individual components that make up the surface of a plant or other landscape elements.

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A plant with fine compact leaves, for instance, is considered smooth, while one with large, sparsely spaced leaves is seen as rough.

Positioning groups of fine textured plant next to rough textures produces a dramatic textural contrast that increases interest in the absence of too many colours.

 Similarly, varying the surface quality of hardscapes reinforces the idea. Hence developing a good textural scheme is an important step in realising a successful monochromatic garden.

-The writer is a landscape architect

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