Color Combos that Add Drama and Curb Appeal

May 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

Whether you are choosing a landscape palette to coordinate with your house colors or giving your living room a fresh kick, contrasting colors give that punch of color that just says Wow.

The colors that are opposite on the color wheel are complimentary — they offer the most contrast and add the biggest pizzazz to your decorating scheme. We already know that adding blue-and-green pillows to a blue sofa will make the colors blend, but adding orange pillows to the blue sofa will make those colors “pop.” And the same is true when you’re planning your front yard landscape.


For example, if you have a blue or blue-gray house with a black door and want to add some drama and curb appeal, consider focusing on oranges and orangey yellows (like Stella de Oro daylilies, for example) in your garden. The complimentary colors enhance each other and make both the house and the garden stand out.

If you have a brick house, the green plantings are really going to stand out. I would suggest using a mixture of greens including some of the yellow-green shrubs (like a jade barberry) and the yellow-green hosta to enhance both the garden and the brick.

If you have a yellow house with a black door, a hot pink rhododendron bush in the front yard will look smashing. You don’t have to use the exact color that is opposite on the color wheel. You can use the colors that are on either side of the opposite color. You’ll still get contrast and a more sophisticated palette.

Use your front door as your inspiration. If you’ve chosen a contrasting color for the front door of your house, say a rusty red on a louisburg green (Ben Moore HC113) house, carry that color into the front yard with a red azalea, a burning bush, and a bed of red tulips. 

If you’ve chosen a lighter green house (like prescott green, Ben Moore HC140) and a dark purple door, add a beautiful lilac bush to your yard and other purple shrubs and flowers. This latter color scheme does not use contrasting reds to go opposite the green but adjacent (analogous) colors in the blue and purple family. Although the contrast is not as dramatic, coordinating the landscape and door color still makes an eye-catching curb appeal. The key is to choose plants that bloom at different times so you have continuous color in your yard.

The English garden look with a variety of colors in the garden is traditional and quite lovely. But if you’d like real drama in your front yard landscape, consider sticking to just one color family in the garden. My sister-in-law has a stunning totally blue garden with every kind of blue and blue-purple flower mixed with white flowers to bring out the color. White always enhances color, inside and out.

If your house is white, you have free reign of the color wheel. But my best advice is to select flowers and flowering shrubs that have the same color intensity instead of mixing the bright flowers with the pastels. If you stick with either all bright or all pastel, you can mix all the colors and create a spectacular landscape.

Just a little color planning that extends from the house, trim, and front door colors to the landscape plantings will give your yard that finished designer-inspired look.

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