3 Easy Ways to Add Pantone's Color of the Year to Your Garden

You can add Classic Blue to more than just an accent wall in your home. Here's a few ideas for using it in the landscape, too.

When Pantone, a worldwide color expert company, selected Classic Blue as the color of the year in 2020, it got me thinking about this beautiful, calming hue beyond the house and how to make the most of it outdoors. When looking around the landscape, I noticed that blue is both everywhere and also nowhere to be found at the same time. A cloudless day reveals a dome of clear blue sky and a garden pool shimmers in many shades of the color. Yet there aren't actually that many plants that offer pure blue tones in their flowers and foliage. Still, I have a few favorites I like to grow to add a little bit of this cooling color to my garden's design, as well as a couple of other ways to include this hue around the yard.

concrete garden pathway surrounded by blue and purple flowers
Antoninapotapenko/Getty Images

1. Plant a Variety of Blue Flowers

True blue is an uncommon color in the botanical world because plants don't make any true blue pigments. But there are plenty of show-stopping blue-ish flowers and foliage that come close. For containers, I like to plant drought-resistant salvia in shades of blue such as 'Black & Blue' salvia; delicate and spreading lobelia such as 'Laguna Sky Blue', and long-blooming summer snapdragon (try 'Angelface Blue'). In the landscape, several easy-care perennials and shrubs add various shades of blue, including blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), bearded and Siberian irises, several hydrangea varieties ('Let's Dance Rhythmic Blue' is favorite of mine), and bluebeard.

2. Add Blue Garden Accents

From decorative planters and birdbaths to unique pieces of art, you can complement your blue flowers with all sorts of garden accents in similar hues. Plus, these items will continue to add a touch of blue, even if nothing is blooming. Place them wherever you have a spot that the eye needs to rest, perhaps along an expansive green hedge or a winding stone wall, for instance. The options are only limited by your imagination. Sara Bendrick, a landscape designer based in Southern California, points out that it doesn't take big bucks to create a big impact, either. For example, "decorative glass chunks added to a gravel patio can create sparkle," she says. And you can check your local thrift stores for blue glass or ceramic items that you can transform into a piece of garden art.

chair on patio with blue cushions and pillows
Bob Stefko

3. Use Blue Outdoor Decor

Decorate outdoor retreats as you would indoor spaces to add more trendy blue. One way I like to change the look of my outdoor seating area on a budget is to give a couple of quick coats of paint to a simple wooden bench I already have. So once my bench is the perfect shade of blue, I can pair it with a few outdoor throw pillows in similar colors to help echo the calming hue throughout my alfresco dining spot. "Beautiful dinnerware, umbrellas, painted benches, or outdoor rugs can give a garden the feeling of a waterside marina or a Greek vacation," Bendrick says.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles