Garden Design 101: Dark Garden Elements

Garden Design 101: Dark Garden Elements

Dark garden accents bring quiet and sophistication to a garden, as well as helping plants stand out.
Dark colors are synonymous with formality, sophistication, and simplicity. No matter what style of garden you have, you may be surprised how some dark elements -- chocolate brown, slate gray, midnight black -- help raise the bar a bit. Here are several reasons to consider dark elements in your landscape and garden.

Dark colors are beautiful backdrops
Think of the inky darkness of a theatrical stage. When an actor steps onto the stage, the spotlight illuminates the actor. Everything else is background. In the same way, a dark backdrop, such as a slate gray wall, helps push forward plants into the spotlight. For example, a black wrought iron fence helps illuminate the brilliance of flowering climbing vines, such as roses, clematis, and jasmine.

Dark colors are style chameleons 
Dark accents appear in all styles of gardens. From gray-weathered statuary in Asian-inspired gardens to contemporary furniture in Midcentury modern-inspired patios, dark colors offer unmistakable high style. 

Dark colors are quiet
If you want to draw attention to a plant’s finest asset, such as a bloom color or a leaf texture, a dark container does that. For example, the sculptural shapes of succulents look stunning in slate gray pots. (Pots from West Elm.)

Grow plants with dark foliage
Dark foliage is a trend. Discover the popular Raven® ZZ plant for indoor and outdoor containers. Edge a chartreuse fern with chocolate brown mondo grass for a container that banks on beautiful contrasts. There are dark purple-black flowers, too. Look for dark varieties of pansies, hollyhocks, and petunias.

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson