Did you know that you can improve your home’s curb appeal by selecting flower colors that complement your home? The way you arrange and combine decorative plantings also impacts your home’s overall look. Even the types of plants you select can create harmony or discord in your landscape; if your home has a very distinctive architectural style, some plants seem to fit more naturally in your garden than others. For example, palms would seem incongruous with a rustic lodge style house, but they are perfectly at home in the garden of a Mediterranean-style stucco. Here we will focus on seasonal and ornamental flower colors that complement the color and style of your home’s siding.
Updating Your Home’s Color Palette
Before we get to the garden, let’s talk about the style and color scheme for the cladding on your home. If you just bought a new house or your current home needs a facelift, you have many factors to consider when picking out styles and colors for your home siding. You’ll have to take into account the home styles in your neighborhood and your geographic region, any guidelines established by your homeowner’s association, trends and popular color schemes, and of course practical considerations such as the cost of installation and materials, as well as how much upkeep is needed for the different types of home siding.
If your current home siding is in great shape and you love how it looks, maybe you just need a coat of paint. However, if there is damage, or if you want a more updated look, it may be the perfect time to consider fiber-cement siding in a cedar shake or wood style. Fiber-cement siding is a mix of sand, cement and cellulose fibers, available in vertical, horizontal, trim and shingle styles. This home siding is non-combustible, it resists weather damage well, and you don’t have to worry about termites like you do with wood. If you’re looking for something that’s lower maintenance than wood siding but not as expensive as fiber-cement, consider vinyl home siding for a fresh new look that lasts longer than paint.
If you want to change the colors of your home, be sure to consider things like color trends in your area, any covenants or restrictions that may affect your choices, and think about any permanent parts of your structure that are more difficult to change, like brick or stone cladding, garden walls, patios and decks, and even the color of your roof. If you have favorite trees or prominent flowering shrubs that you know will be in your landscape for a long while, you should also keep in mind the coloration of their flowers and foliage, so that the home exterior colors you choose are complementary. Our friends at Sherwin-Williams have a helpful online “Visualizer” tool that you might find useful while making your selections.
Creating an Attractive Landscape
Once you have established the colors for your home itself, turn your attention to your landscape choices. For maximum curb appeal, you want to create a landscape that complements your home, not one that hides it or competes with it. Your home probably already has foundation plantings – shrubs and trees – that were put in when the home was built. Take some photos of your home from the street, and look at them objectively to decide whether you may need to remove or replace some of those plants. After several years, it is likely that some are overgrown and out of proportion, while others may have languished and now look sad. Those plantings are the framework of your seasonal beds, so get them in shape now.
TIP: Use this opportunity to check your foundation plantings and make sure that nothing is too close to the home — you need to ensure air movement around all sides of your home. Overgrown shrubs can create dark, damp areas where moisture has a hard time evaporating, which can result in eventual rot. We end up replacing a lot of wood trim and window frames due to moisture damage and rot. Bushes that are too close to the house also create areas where leaves and debris can build up. They obscure visibility around your foundation making it less likely that you will notice evidence of rot or termite tunnels, so damage may go unnoticed and untreated.
After you shape up your permanent landscape features, it is time to think about seasonal plantings. First, think about what you want to accomplish with color. Do you lean toward a monochromatic color palette, with several shades of a similar color, or do you prefer a brighter palette with lots of contrast?
Look at the principal colors of your home. You might even want to bring paint chips with you to the nursery. If you are trying to make a statement, then avoid selecting flower colors similar to the tones of your home; for example, if your home is red brick, you should probably select something other than red flowers, since they will blend into the background and have little impact.
Decide if you want to create a warm or cool color palette for your landscape, and then consider which flower colors would accent your home in a pleasing way. You can actually use a color wheel to select shades of flowers in the classic complements for your home’s paint colors (those would the colors directly across the color wheel from each other). For example, if you home’s siding is yellow (or maybe a shade of yellowish-tan), then violet-hued flowers would be its natural complement. If your home is blue or a bluish shade of gray, then orange flowers would be its complement. Red flowers would be the natural complement for a green home.
The human eye is naturally drawn to the color red, and you can use it to create the “movement” we talked about before, and even to manipulate how someone views your home and yard. To play up your yard’s size, for example, you could place clumps of red flowers at the far ends to make sure that the viewer’s glance has to sweep across the entire length of your yard. You can also use pops of red to “highlight” key features you want to make sure they notice. Perhaps you want to call attention to pretty stone steps, or a water feature. Place a few red flowers there, and they will act almost like a flag that catches the viewer’s attention.
Once you have decided what colors you want to use, think about the makeup of your seasonal planting areas. You want to incorporate a variety of heights, textures, shapes and colors in your beds, but you don’t want the end result to look like a hodgepodge, so resist the urge to buy one of everything at the nursery. A good rule of thumb is to select fewer different types of plants than you really want, but buy a larger quantity of each one than you think you need. Select a couple of types each of tall, mid-height, and low growing plants.
When determining how to arrange them in your yard, try to break out of your usual habits; don’t just plant your spring or fall flowers where you always have because the beds are already there. Once again, go out to the street and look back at your home so you see the yard as a whole. Are there neglected areas that need extra attention? Could you add some color to break up a large expanse of green?
Before you dig and plant, place your still-potted plants in your yard and move them around until you are pleased with the arrangement. This can save you a lot of effort, should you change your mind about where they look best.
Don’t Forget to Enjoy It
The bottom line is, there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to gardening around your home. First and foremost, you should enjoy the process and the results you get. Choose plants in the colors you like best, and chances are you will end up with an attractive result.