Thisdouble flowering plum in bloom in May might be nice on the south side of a dark blue house, but not so nice in front of orange. Photo by Donna Balzer/For CREB®Now

Paint chips and Blue-chips

Making house paint choices that work with your landscape

newDonnawebGardeners can be so silly. They paint or redo the exterior of their homes, spending all the money they’ve saved for Hawaii, and suddenly the plants they have nurtured for years are a disaster with their new colour.

Now the landscape needs to be redone because Blue-chip junipers vanish in front dark blue stucco and majestic Amur cherries, with their copper bark, look dull in front of a newly painted red house.

Bright pink double-flowering plums are dreadful in front of a Tuscan shade of orange, while lime-yellow Golden Elders clash with beige of any kind.

If you are getting out the paint chips to redo the exterior of your house this summer, remember to work with your garden. Take an inventory of your landscape before you make the final paint colour decision.

Here are some colourful plants and the paint colours they might work best with:

• Annabelle or Limelight Hydrangeas are gorgeous in Calgary because they have pure white or lime blooms. Imagine these in front of a dark blue or dark grey house with an east or north aspect. What a great contrast and a delight to brighten up this dark side of the house. Add a striking tree like the native paper birch against the same paint colour to complete the design.

• The solid dark green foliage of Mugo Pines shine in front of orange stucco or pale green siding. If you get an upright cultivar such as Pinus mugo “Tannenbaum,” it will be the perfect scale and colour against the average house. In a smaller condo or townhouse, use a more compact form like Pinus mugo “Slowmound” with an ornamental grass like Overdam Calamagrostis between the pine and the house.

• Blue-chip Junipers look good in front of oranges and greens, too, but they really shine with their blue foliage in summer and purple foliage in winter in front of a cream or dark yellow home. Combining these blue-foliaged plants with other blue plants – such as high-graft dwarf blue spruce, alongside a shrub with dark purple leaves such as Diabolo Ninebark – adds a lovely contrast of colour in front of your newly painted home.

Choosing the paint colours with the existing plants in mind is simpler than changing all the plants every time you change the paint colour. The savings may not get you all the way to Hawaii, but they may mean a weekend away to a cottage. A rental cottage.

Donna Balzer is an enthusiastic gardener and entertaining speaker. Sign up for her blog feeds at www.gardenguru.net or follow her on Twitter @NoGuffGardener.

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