Colour up with purple

As warmer weather arrives, there’s one particular colour that speaks of long days and warm nights: purple. It’s the colour of an English summer, and often the key colour theme of many Show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, so it is no surprise that it was Pantone’s chosen colour for 2018. An emotive colour, purple is a good foil for bright sunny yellows and jewel-like colours. It’s a cutting edge colour and especially in urban gardens and by using paint you can change your trellis, pots and furniture – and your mood and outlook in minutes!

Coloured walls create exciting effects and bring a contemporary element to a design. A bright magenta wall for example, will demand attention and will look stunning as a backdrop to crab apples, pink clematis, pink hebes and pink peonies but if you want the boundary wall to recede into the background then paint it aubergine, which will allow only the plants to shine

To begin with spend time rendering walls so that you have a decent surface to paint. Painted wooden fences and brick walls don’t look half as stylish as textured, or smooth-plastered walls, so bear this in mind when planning and painting your garden. Always use the right paint for the job in hand – you need masonry paint for exterior walls.

Cuprinol Garden Shades has been specially developed to colour and protect sheds, fences and other garden wood. Its special pigments ensure a rich colour and allow the natural texture of the woodgrain to shine through.

There are 26 different colours in Cuprinol’s Garden Shades range. Intense shades of blue, purple, orange and yellow are colours that will assault and excite the senses and are great for accessories that will add to the garden’s bohemian style.

Bold plants and colourful Moorish ceramic tiles draw your eye to this sunken pond

In a larger garden where the aim is to create a tranquil place, a “retreat from urban life”, you must choose a sheltered, quiet and very private area of the garden and give it a makeover so that it is always picture perfect even in the depths of winter.

Purple’s ideal partner, yellow, invariably lightens and brightens a scene. Chartreuse plants make good partners too and purple and orange placed together send the colour sparks flying in a match that’s sultry and sophisticated.

With summer comes a host of flowers in vivid, soft and subtle shades of purple. Wrapping the sitting area with beds that are planted with plants in different tones of purple, and in different shapes, will give an unstructured but still cohesive look. For laid back cottage garden style, choose old fashioned collection of granny’s favourite flowers that include aquilegia, alliums, phlox and clematis plus fragrant roses and lilies to create an intimate space.

Chalky paint colours, such as lilac-blue, are great not just as a colourful backdrop, but also they reduce glare in sunny spots and make a small garden feel more spacious. Using purple cushions on the chairs adds to the outdoor room effect

Pale shades of purple work best in combination with plants that have silver or grey leaves. Purple can be dreamy or dramatic and by repeating this colour throughout the garden can help tie a planting scheme together. Tone-on-tone combinations are on trend now, so look out for soft ice-cream shades or muted pastels for container displays and plant borders with pale cream or white coloured flowers and add vitality to the scheme with a smattering of ice blue.

Using one predominant colour brings harmony to a garden, but try using different tones for added interest, then add hits of a contrasting colour for a livelier look 

Create the right mood on your patio this summer, with plants like Verbena Tapien Violet, a weather-tolerant variety that’s ideal for hanging baskets, Salvia Seascape Mixed, which brings the colours of the ocean to your garden, with a cool fresh mix of blue and silvery-white flower spires set against dark green foliage and Helitrope Blue, which produces fragrant violet flowers that smell like cherry pie crossed with vanilla and attracts bees and butterflies.

If you’ve got children, you may not be interested in having a pond but a pool of crushed glass is a safe and low-maintenance alternative in a family garden. Drought-busting spiky-leaved phormiums, which spurt like fountains, from beneath the sparkling sun lit ‘water’ will add to the effect and the feature can be made all the more magical when the diamond-like aggregate is illuminated at night.

Dig your ‘pond’ 5-10cm deep and line with a weed membrane then plant through slits before filling with coloured aggregate. Lavender Aspen – A decorative coloured gravel, which is colour fast, waterproof and non-toxic is just one of the range of unusual and coloured garden mulches available from

For fun plant aubretia or lobelia so that it represents water spilling out of a Greek style urn 

When it comes to paving, there are lots of natural stone pavings available that have a deep purple-grey colour. They look especially good when it rains!

Using paint in the garden

For best results tackle outdoor painting jobs when the weather’s dry.

Start with tester pots and never paint wood when it’s damp as the paint will blister and flake off, and avoid painting in direct sunlight.

Exterior surfaces need to be prepared before painting. Treat bare wood with primer before painting with an exterior eggshell or use Cuprinol Garden Shades, which can also be applied on terracotta, brick and stone, to bring beautiful colours to the rest of the garden.

Any surface that has previously been painted will need sanding first to remove loose and blistered paint.

  1. Cialischeap left a comment on April 17, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you for the sage advice F. Lee Bailey. Next

  2. Pino left a comment on April 19, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Beautiful examples of pergolas. My pergola is a star in my backyard. I absolutely love it! In spring the wisteria blooms profusely, followed by the clematis. In winter the knotted vines lend interest. We have several strings of lights hanging above but what I really want is a candle chandelier, to lend that elegant touch. Seeing the one above has made me even more determined. Wistfully waiting for summer weather. It’s shaded under the pergola, making a nice place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine after a busy day.

    • A. Wild left a comment on April 19, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Sounds great and a feature that everyone should have – thanks for your inspired idea

    • A. Wild left a comment on May 5, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Sounds fabulous and the perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon

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