Friday, February 12, 2010

Be Bold - Add Color

A few years ago, I saw a custom built arbor that ran across the entire front of a house on one of 'those' shows.
I was immediately attached to the idea of having one like it.
The hubs wasn't so happy. Well, what did I expect, he'd be the one building it.

I must mention here that the hubs is a genius with his hands.
If I show him something in a book, mag or on tv, and the materials are cheap, he'll engineer it.
Or, at least a reasonable facsimile.

After the groaning about what a pain-in-the derriere this thing was going to be, he started drawing.
It was up in two days!

The problem was - it sat unpainted for two weeks because we couldn't decide on a color.
But, who wants a regular old white arbor? White is nice. Cottagey. Presents the vines and flowers well. Also, boring. Very, very boring.

We hemmed and hawed. Made suggestions to each other. Nahh-ed and maybe-ed each one.
Some we threw out immediately, some we mulled over for the entire two weeks. (dark evergreen green, anyone?)

We figured a trip to the little village hardware store was in order for a few more choices.
My youngest tagged along - I think she was 13 at the time.
She wandered down the paint aisle, pointed to a color chip and said, "That's the color you should paint it."

I was horrified. Florida Bay blue.
Bright, gaudy, in-your-face blue.

The hubs blinked at me and simply said, "Why not?"
I wanted to stamp my foot on the ancient wood floor and scream, "Because it's bright blue! We can't have that color screaming at people from the front of our house. What are you two thinking?"
The only thing I could think of was this house in my old neighborhood that had every strip of siding painted a different pastel color. We called it the 'rainbow house' and thought it was just the craziest, gaudiest thing ever. I didn't want my house being thought of like that!
It might look . . . trashy. (which is the thought I think most people's brains automatically jump to with color)

But, I'm not one to make a scene, you know. Not in public, anyway.
I stared at the chip, trying to envision what it might really look like against the white background of the house. Blue is my favorite color, after all. Maybe it wouldn't be too bad? It's not like it would be on the whole house or something. And we could always paint over it.

So, we painted it that shocking blue.
And we liked it!
Yes, we liked it a lot.
So did the neighbors.


All these years I've never been bold enough to paint my outdoor accessories the colors that I wanted. It was a real eye opener. Why is everyone so afraid of bold colors in the garden? They'll use shocking red, yellow, purple flowers, but everything else must blend into the background. Why? Why can't a pot or other garden accessory compliment other colors? Can you imagine a nice small splash of purple hidden among some hostas? Or a bit of sunny yellow nestled among some purple amaranth? A garden chair painted a soothing mint green situated in the shade garden inviting visitors to have a seat, relax and enjoy the scenery?

What's better than a beautiful splash of color, that isn't a flower, somewhere in the garden?
Start small, maybe a pot. (somewhere I saw a set of small buckets that someone had added feet to, painted pastel colors and used for flower pots. They were gorgeous!!)
Even a few small rocks placed here and there.
Be bold. Grab that paintbrush and try it. See how you feel about it.
Besides, you can always repaint.

I'm now mulling over painting our pond bench lavender. Adding a little color was one of the best decisions we ever made, so why not?

Happy (adding that splash of color) Growing!


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I agree adding some bold color is a good thing. Blue is also a favorite color of mine outside, so many other colors really "pop" against it. Plus it adds some interest in the winter when everything is gray or brown.
Your arbor turned out great!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What a wonderful story. Bright colors are wonderful outdoors.Everyone wants these earthy oh, hum colors. It must be an added and welcome color in the winter days too.

ChickenFreak said...


We have a fair bit of cobalt blue around the garden, and we like it, after being a bit nervous beforehand. (And ours was powdercoated on metal, so there was no going back!)

Elephant's Eye said...

Painted blue is a colour that sings the most wonderful melody in a garden. I think it is Wade blue, that was invented by an English gentleman, for painting his garden benches. We have a garden house, poised at the 'what colour' stage.

Elephant's Eye said...

PS You can see on some of our photos, that the chairs are painted 'verdiblue'.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

"Besides, you can always repaint"... story of my life!!! lol.

LOVE that shade of blue, by the way. Nice choice by dear daughter--and by her parents, to go along with it. :)

Tina said...

thanks for popping in!
You're right, it adds some major winter interest. And thanks!

Hocking Hills Gardener,
thanks for dropping by!
Yeah, those ho-hums just don't do it for me. I wish people would be a little bolder.

thanks for stopping in!
Cobalt? Awesome! I might have to try that next...

Elephant's Eye,
thanks for popping by!
So, are you considering something bold for that garden house?

thanks for popping in!
lol, what are you planning to repaint next?
Yeah, she did good! I'm really glad we went with her choice.