Nanna Stærmose

08 Sep 2020 14:33

Colours in the garden – and of the greenhouse

We often forget the colours when decorating the garden. But colours are important because they are unconsciously affecting our mood and state of mind.


By Nina Ewald


There is simply no garden without colours! First and foremost, there is the green from all the plants, and then there are all the other elements that create the garden. The palette is filled with beds and flowers, and everything that is on the plot: Buildings, fences, pavement, garden furniture, pots and other accessories. It is important for the harmony that the colours match, completely in the same way as when you decorate your house. Furniture and accessories need to match, also with doors, windows, walls and floors. 


Different ways of colour coordinating

When landscaping a new garden, or redoing the old one, many focusses on the design of the garden. Colours are lagging or maybe put in there randomly, but actually, the colours are of just as much importance as the design. It is not just a question of liking or not liking certain colours. No, colours are affecting the unconscious mind and can set your mood or state of mind. Also, you can work consciously with colours to underline or focus on certain areas or things in the garden. 

When colour coordinating your garden, there are different principles to believe. I base it on the colour wheel, which is a simple and easy tool to work with. When coordinating different colours in different ways, the result can be beautiful and harmonic. When getting better at coordinating colours, you can experiment and create a more unique and personal garden.


Houses of the garden

What else should the Greenhouse Forum be based on than greenhouses? A building is one of the elements that affect the overall colour coordination in the garden. First and foremost, the house, but also small buildings are setting the colour scheme: tool sheds, playhouses, the garage and a greenhouse.

The bigger a coloured surface is, the more it influences the overall look. A house painted in a significant colour can really set the base of the rest of the colours in the garden, and the closer it gets to the surroundings, the greater influence it has. It is worth remembering when picking out colours. The colours of plants, garden furniture and other accessories are based on the colour of the buildings. The colour of the buildings brings out or tones down the colours of the plants and garden furniture.


Coloured greenhouses

There are greenhouses in different colours, but you can also paint your greenhouse in a special colour, however, it’s a lot of work! White and black greenhouses are so neutral that they usually blend in everywhere and compliment the garden nicely. A painted greenhouse, on the other hand, puts its fingerprint on the overall colour scheme of the garden, which should be taken into consideration. It is important to pick a greenhouse that matches the colours of the garden or to pick flowers that match the greenhouse.

The photos are from around the world and meant as inspiration to think differently when picking the colour of the greenhouse.


In Sweden red greenhouses are common. This greenhouse is from an exhibition on the castle Sofiero near Helsingborg. Red is a strong signal colour and a greenhouse in that colour is really attracting the focus. Also, red and green are complementary colours. This means that they are right across from each other in the colour wheel, which underlines the impact. In this garden, red is matched with golden and brown tones, which brings harmony.

Photo: Sofiero

The blue greenhouse is from an English garden exhibition. It is a wooden greenhouse, painted in a blue tone which stands out, but it’s still toned down, so it doesn’t seem gaudy. A nice detail is an espalier that’s also painted blue and the flowers that match the colour palette.

Photo: Nina Ewald


If you don’t want your greenhouse to visually stand out, chose a green colour. Green colours are visually toned down and blend the greenhouse in the surroundings. Depending on which tone you chose. The more the colour matches the green surroundings, the more invisible it will be.

Photo: Nina Ewald


The beautiful orangery is homemade from two Juliana greenhouses which have been tailored to fit the brick middle part and the ideas of the owner. The colours are white and grey, as the dwarf wall and bricks are grey, and aluminium profiles and doors are white. The colours are discrete, and they fit the green surroundings elegantly. Above the entrance, it says “A semini ad fructum” which means “from seed to fruit”. A nice detail.

Photo: Hugo Bech


Black is a colour that fits everywhere without disturbing the harmony. Black is a trendy colour these days and fits both lush and romantic surroundings, modern and minimalistic gardens. This black Juliana Premium matches the grey tiles perfectly, also the white garden furniture and the yellow house. Furthermore, black is a colour that retains heat, so the temperature can rise a few degrees inside the greenhouse.

Photo: Juliana


My own greenhouse is a Juliana Classic made of cedarwood. The first years it had a golden red colour, now it’s patinated grey, which blends beautifully in the surroundings. Wooden colours naturally blend in the garden. If you want to keep the golden wooden colour, you can treat it with Tung oil. Cedarwood is one of the self-impregnated woods which is resistant to all kinds of outside factors.

Photo: Nina Ewald


About Nina Ewald  

Nina Ewald has published several books about houses and gardens. She has an education from the Design School of Denmark and has been taught in the colour scheme for several years. She has held courses and lectures about the subject, and she has many years of practical experience with colour coordinating houses and gardens. She travels around the world for inspiration and knowledge.


Photo: Georg Messmann