Composing for Color

Landscape your yard with an orchestra of American colors. The red, white, and blue combine to create a patriotic balance.


Red Recital

Red is your landscape's percussion, clamoring for attention like the crash of cymbals. The color of blood, heat, and love, red will alert, arouse, and energize. Just a bit of red packs a wallop in the yard -- a whole bed of it lands a real knockout blow.

Enlarge Image Acer palmatum 'Trompenburg'(Japanese maple)
  • Red stimulates appetite, so plant it near outdoor dining areas.
  • Because red encourages activity, it's a smart choice around decks, patios, and outdoor play spaces.
  • Red warms its surroundings. It can overheat sunny spots and make shady spots feel less cool.
  • Red shrinks spaces visually, a drawback in tight quarters, but a boon in wide-open landscapes.
  • Bring out the red in plantings with clay pots, sandstone, brick, and other reddish hardscaping.
Reliable Red Flowers
Enlarge Image Astilbe
  • Astilbe 'Red Fanal':16-24 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Blanket flower (Gillardia pulchella) Plume series: Up to 12 inches tall. Zones 3-8.
  • Fuchsia 'Golden Marnka': 6-12 inches tall. Zones 8-10.
  • Impatiens valleriana Super Elfin Series: Up to 10 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Penstemon 'Chester Scarlet': Up to 24 inches tall. Zones 6-9.
  • Petunia Carpet Series: 8-10 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Scarlet sage (Salvia spendens): Up to 16 inches tall. Grow as annual in all Zones.
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) Tahiti Series: Up to 8 inches tall. Zones 5-9.
Enlarge Image Bee balm
  • Bee Balm (Monarda) 'Red Scarlet,' 'Adam': Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Cardinal flower (Lobelia carinalis): Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 3-9.
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis) 'Red Joy,' 'Red Rum': 16-34 inches tall. Zones 3-10.
  • Peony (Paeonia) 'America': 3-3-1/2 feet tall. Zones 3-8.
  • Yarrow (Achillea) 'Fanal': Up to 30 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
Enlarge Image Crocosmia
  • Clematis 'Rouge Cardinal': 6-10 feet tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Crocosmia 'Lucifer': 3-4 feet tall. Zones 6-9.
  • Flame nasturtium (Tropaeolum speciosum): Up to 10 feet tall. Zones 8-10.
  • Flowering quince (Chaenomeles x superba): 4-5 feet tall. Zones 5-9.
  • Hibiscus moscheutos 'Lord Baltimore': Up to 4 feet tall. Zones 5-10.
  • Scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea): Up to 12 feet tall. Zones 6-9.

See more red-flowering favorites.
Try planting some of these red and yellow combos.

Classy White

White is the yard's string section, giving off crisp, pure tones. Immaculate and wholesome, white freshens the landscape and its cleansing power fosters peace. White is a blank slate inviting clear thought and suggesting limitless possibilities.

Enlarge Image Hydrangea
  • Just as white walls make the rooms inside your home seem larger, white flowers increase the perceived size of your yard.
  • White is the last color to fade as darkness falls, so use it to border pathways for twilight strolls.
  • White lights up dull corners and shady nooks in your landscape.

See gorgeous white and purple plant combinations.

The Winning Whites to Plant

Front of Garden:

Winning Whites
Enlarge Image Sweet
  • Campanula capratica 'Bressingham White': Up to 6 inches tall. Zones 4-7.
  • Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens): Up to 12 inches tall. Zones 5-9.
  • Colchicum speciosum 'Album': Up to 7 inches tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Daffodil (Narcissus) 'Panache': Up to 16 inches tall. All Zones.
  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) 'Golden Moss': Up to 4 inches tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis): Up to 4 inches tall. Zones 3-9.
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum): 2-3 inches tall. Zones 3-7.
  • Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritime) 'Carpet of Snow': Up to 4 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Windflower (Anemone nemerosa) 'Wilk's Giant': 3-6 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
Enlarge Image Iris
  • Baby's-breath (Gypsophilia paniculata) 'Snowflake': Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Iris 'Wisley White': Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Mallow (Lavatera trimestris) 'Mont Blanc': Up to 20 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Morning widow (Geranium paheum f. album): Up to 32 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Peony (Paeonia) B 'Festive Maxima': 36-39 inches tall. Zones 3-8.
  • Phlox paniculata 'Fujiyama': Up to 30 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) 'Alaska': Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica) 'Boule de Neige': 18-24 inches tall. Zones 3-8.
Enlarge Image White spiderwort
  • Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) 'Alba': Up to 28 feet tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Hydrangea paniculata 'Floribunda': 10-22 feet tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale): Up to 40 feet tall. Zones 9-10.
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) 'Mme. Florent Stepman': Up to 22 feet tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Madonna lily (lilium candidum): 3-6 feet tall. Zones 6-9.
  • Moonflower (Ipomoea alba): Up to 15 feet tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Prunus Glandulosa 'Alba Pleana': Up to 5 feet tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Rhododendron 'Polar Bear': Up to 15 feet tall. Zones 7-9.
  • Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata): Up to 10 feet tall. Zones 5-9.
  • White mugwort (Artemisia lactiflora): Up to 5 feet tall. Zones 5-8.

See more of our white-flowering favorites.

Soothing and tranquil, blue seems closest in feeling to woodwinds. Blue's cool and calming ways make it the color for healing, relaxation, and reflection. As the color of the sky, blue evokes a sense of infinite upward dimensions and nearness to the heavens.

Blue Riffs
Enlarge Image Delphinium
  • Blue plantings bring a cool, refreshing feeling to the hottest spots in your yard, even full-sun gardens on a summer afternoon.
  • Blue recedes, or falls away, making spaces seem larger. Plant blue flowers along the sides of a narrow garden between houses to make them seem wider.
  • Because blue calms and soothes, place it where people can sit, relax, and reflect quietly. But blue may be too calming for a deck, dining area, or other gathering place where you want lively interaction.
Top Blue Flowering Plants
Enlarge Image Consolida ambigua(larkspur)
  • Alpine columbine (Aquilegia alpina): Up to 18 inches tall. Zones 4-7.
  • Alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris): Up to 8 inches tall. Zones 4-8.
  • Aster amellus 'King George': Up to 18 inches tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae): Up to 6 inches tall. Zones 3-9.
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria) 'Mawson's Blue: Up to 14 inches tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Milkwort (Polygala calcarea): Up to 2 inches tall. Zones 7-9.
  • Prostrate speedwell (Veronica prostrata) 'Trehane': Up to 6 inches tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Siberian squill (Scilla siberica): 4-8 inches tall. Zones 5-8.
  • Star gentian (Gentiana verna): Up to 1-1/2 inches tall. Zones 4-7.
Enlarge Image Centaurea
  • African blue lily (Agapanthus campanulatus): Up to 30 inches tall. Zones 7-10.
  • Bluebottle (Centaurea cyanus) 'Blue Boy': Up to 30 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Blue cardinal flower (Lobelia siphilitica): 24-48 inches tall. Zones 5-9.
  • Borage (Borago officinalis): Up to 24 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Heavenly Blue': Up to 3 feet tall. Zones 6-9.
  • Catmint (Nepeta sibirica): Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 3-8.
  • Gentian sage (Salvia patens) 'Cambridge Blue': 18-24 inches tall. Zones 8-10.
  • Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena): Up to 20 inches tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.
  • Peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia): Up to 36 inches tall. Zones 3-8.
  • Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla): Up to 18 inches tall. Zones 3-7.
Enlarge Image Ceanothus
  • Bog sage (Salvia uliginosa): Up to 6 feet tall. Zones 8-10.
  • California lilac (Ceanothus) 'Autumnal Blue': Up to 10 feet tall. Zones 9-10.
  • Clematis 'Perele d'Azur': Up to 10 feet tall. Zones 4-9.
  • Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum): Up to 5 feet tall. Zones 3-7.
  • Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blue Bonnet': Up to 6 feet tall. Zones 6-9.
  • Monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii) 'Arendsii': Up to 4 feet tall. Zones 3-7.
  • Morning-glory (Ipomoea tricolor) 'Heavenly Blue': 10-12 feet tall. Grow as an annual in all Zones.

See more blue flowering plants.

  • Plains false indigo (Baptisia australis): Up to 5 feet tall. Zones 3-8.
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