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Colour palette

I am after some suggestions for a colour palette and plants. 

I am about to have a smallish decking area installed. It's close to the house and will provide an all year round area where we can sit. There are going to be small borders around the deck. The area is separate from the rest of the garden which is a quite country cottage. As a result, we are aiming for something a bit different and modern - we have chosen a grey colour for our decking which is the same as the main picture here; We are thinking of structural plants we can enjoy all year round rather than pretty flowers. But as we don't currently use any in our garden we are a bit clueless about where to start.

The garden centre has suggested using very light green plants to contrast with the decking - a bit like the colour of lettuce. I don't think the light green complements the grey decking. I was thinking red or yellow with dark green.  What do you think?  Anybody got any photos of their modern structural beds you can share with me for some inspiration?


  • B3B3 Posts: 18,773
    I like the lime green. What about green/white variegated evergreen like holly, pittosporum etc.
    Do you like lavender? That would go with the grey. Rosemary would look good too.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,280
    Dark green will get lost against the grey and in winter you need something light and bright.   A lot depends on which way your decking faces which dictates how much sunlight the planters will get.  Then we also need to know size for root depth and what soil or compost you're using.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 3,998
    edited August 2019
    How about dark greens of box and yew etc, and ferns, with white e.g. hydrangea Annabelle or Limelight, Rosa White Fairy etc. I don't see why this wouldn't work with grey.

  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,102
    Red and yellow with dark green is a very harsh combination which can work well in bright sunshine but it rather depends on the mood you want in your decking area. Lime and purple foliage could give you year round colour. Something like lime marmalade heuchera with purple sage.

  • jenny794jenny794 Posts: 30
    Wow, that's some great posting and information really fast. Thanks guys.

    Yes, I love lavender and the colours would be perfect with the grey wood. I also love hydrangea but they are more cottage garden and I want some plants with more structure like grasses and succulents. I didn't realise what marmalade heuchera was - I have seen it in the bright green version which I don't like but the orange variety is lovely.

    More information on the beds and soil - one side is in the ground, quite light sandy soil. The other side will be beds probably about 50cm deep and I can put any type of compost/soil in there I want. The area gets moderate sunshine - not full sun all day but it isn't shaded either. There are no trees or anything blocking light or stealing nutrients. 

    Are there some good succulent type plants that will be happy in the UK and can I grow any reasonably sized cacti outside in the garden?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,280
    Have a look at sedums and sempervivums which come in many forms and colours and should be fine in the sandy soil as long as it's not wet in winter.  If not, stick to sedums, vaiegtaed eunoymous and hebes for the sandy soil and put sempervivums in shallow pots with grit mixed ino their planting compost.  Have a look at i-Player and see if you can find the latest Gardeners' World programme as it featured a chap with the national collection of sempervivums.  That way you'll see if you like them and can get the right growing conditions.

    For the planters, have a look at this info -  ornamental grasses can be very dull on their own  so think about mixing them up with other plants such as verbena bonariensis, rudbeckias, heleniums.  You'll find info about all of these on the RHS website.

    Cactii are not hardy in the UK but you could get the spiky look from yucca, dwarf palm chamaerops humilis, phormiums and so on with some lower, clump forming grasses such as uncinia rubra below.  Look them all up on the RHS site to see what kind of soil they need and drainage.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • jenny794jenny794 Posts: 30
    I absolutley love sedums - thanks so much for the suggestion. I love the uncinia rubra too so it looks like a plan is forming. Dark green/blue foliage with some red tones and silver/white to add interest and brightness.

    Hebes will be perfect. I have some and they are so easy to grow and interesting all year. Shame about the cacti but a few Chamaerops humilis will do the job nicely. They will add some height. I also love the grass Festuca glauca (Elijah Blue) which I got from that RHS link.

    Fantastic I shall now form a detailed plan! Thanks so much for all the help. 
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