Houzz Pastel Plantings

Pastel colors can enhance outdoor spaces and add a sense of tranquility and lightness, even in starker contemporary gardens. Used in informal plantings, pastel tones such as pink, lilac, lavender, cream and peach create soft and subtle effects. Though they work well on their own, pastels also combine well with gray and silver foliage as well as bolder colors, creating lively contemporary gardens with ties to cottage gardens of the past.

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Plant in a matrix. Matrix planting is a technique that replicates nature in the way that plants grow together and intermingle, usually with a dominant species punctuating the scheme. Pastel-colored flowers blend well in this style of planting, and stronger-colored flowers can be used to add bursts of interest. 

We saw this style of planting softening contemporary show gardens this year at theRHS Chelsea Flower Show, in May, and with The Wellbeing of Women garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, as seen here.

Pastel colors can enhance outdoor spaces and add a sense of tranquility and lightness, even in starker contemporary gardens. Used in informal plantings, pastel tones such as pink, lilac, lavender, cream and peach create soft and subtle effects. Though they work well on their own, pastels also combine well with gray and silver foliage as well as bolder colors, creating lively contemporary gardens with ties to cottage gardens of the past.

 Frame pastels with evergreens. Evergreen foliage is a fitting backdrop to a pastel planting palette. Here, the dusty blue of catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) and soft pink of hardy geranium stand against the dark green of boxwood (Buxus sp.), while the creamy flowers of Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) blend in and complete the scheme.

Add silver and gray as foils. Silver foliage combines splendidly with pastels, especially blues, pinks and purples. The French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) lining this path complement each other across the walkway. 

Discover more plants with blue and gray foliage

Mix bolder colors to add depth. This planting could have been a little too flat had it only consisted of a pastel palette of blue and white agapanthus and purple tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis), but the burst of bright red Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ adds contrast to the whole scene. The strong red also helps the quieter pastel colors recede, giving the planting more depth.

This contemporary design, though more formal than the other examples, incorporates touches of pastel. The pink, lilac and purple outdoor pillows tie in with the pastel colors in the plantings.