Colour Combinations
To be sure about choosing colours that enhance each other, it helps to understand some of the basic principles behind effective colour combination.

Choosing your colour combinations

The key to a successful colour scheme is in choosing the right combination. This means that the colours enhance each other. In the wrong combination they will appear flat and monotone and offer very little visual stimulation.

Perhaps the simplest combination is the use of a single colour in varying hues: one light, one medium and with an accent hue that is rich and dark.

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How to combine
  • Monochromatic combinations are variations of a single colour and work best 
    using neutral colours. This combination is virtually foolproof, for example, with shades of white and off-white to create a contemporary and sophisticated  atmosphere.
  •  Analogous combinations use colours adjacent to each other on the colour wheel, like red, orange and yellow. They create a harmonious effect using subdued shades and tints.
  • Complementary combinations take colours directly opposite each other on the wheel. The effect is often energetic, vibrant and visually striking.
  • Split Complementary combinations take hues on one side of the wheel and the  two hues on either side of its complement. For example, yellow-green, yellow-orange and purple. The effect is harmonious and vibrant.
  • Triadic combinations are any three colours equidistant to each other on the 
    wheel. Commonly, these are red, blue and yellow. Appropriately muted or
    lightened, such a combination creates a rich, sophisticated ambience.


Colour Combinations


Trends
  • Heritage greens are being replaced by darker blues or purple blues in exterior  feature such as eaves, fencing and letterboxes.
  • The Asian influence is coming through in darker timbers, which can be combined with lush, deep charcoals, purples, chocolate browns etc.
  • New paint finishes providing translucent or pearlescent effects are being used to create a subtle metallic effect, particularly in bathrooms.
  • The continuing popularity of neutrals for interior living spaces suggest that we  look to our homes to provide a peaceful and calm haven from an otherwise busy world and working life.
  • Neutral colours include the creamy whites, soft greys, pale yellow-based browns and other muted washed hues. They ideally complement natural materials and  finishes such as stone, timber and cane. They love to accompany natural  textures such as fabrics and help create a warm, earthy, relaxed ambience.
  •  Accent colours to contrast relaxed neutrals are becoming stronger and darker:  charcoal, dark timber hues, deep blues. Mediterranean themes are still popular,  with combinations such as yellow and blue. Terracotta shades with teal greens are also popular.

Colour Combinations
 
Landscape colour

The properties of colour to visually expand or contract an area and add an impression of light or depth, warmth or coolness, are equally applicable in exterior settings like your garden.

Even so called natural tones in stone and tile paving and retaining walls have a touch of colour like yellow, pink or brown.  Put a clean white sheet of paper against the paver and this should bring out the subtle colour.

Always remember scale: if you have a large expanse of paving or a large retaining wall, break it visually with large-scale plantings.

If you want to add colour to outside, consider how much sun is in the area under consideration, whether you want it look larger or cosier, what mood you want to create there, and whether existing colours can be used or changed to create the co-ordinated effect you're seeking.

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