Keep It Fresh: Creative Seasonal Color Palette Ideas - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Keep It Fresh: Creative Seasonal Color Palette Ideas

Photo: Jill Odom

Seasonal color services are something that you can use to set your landscape company apart from others in the commercial landscape maintenance space. Offering a program that provides eye-catching displays throughout the seasons helps enhance your properties and increase customer satisfaction.

Because seasonal color is cyclical, you can run the risk of falling into a rut and all your properties ending up with similar-looking displays.

Below are some different palette ideas to consider to keep your installations innovative and original.

Integrate New Varieties

Plant growers are constantly creating new varieties of annuals, perennials and shrubs that offer longer-lasting blooms, different color patterns, disease resistance and other features. While you should conduct your due diligence on these new plant types to make sure they’re worth investing in, you definitely shouldn’t overlook including them.

“I am very picky about finding the right plants to suit different locations, uses and aesthetics,” says Daria Paxton, owner and founder of Gaia Gardens, based in Montclair, New Jersey. “Since the process is a puzzle to me, I get excited about finding the right pieces and sometimes those are new. I enjoy sharing with clients how plants are developed and why and why each choice makes sense.”

Mix Up Arrangement Patterns

Depending on your client’s preferences, you may be able to get away from the cookie-cutter rows of annuals and mix in some other shapes like triangles or circles. Massing contrasting and complementary colors can help a seasonal bed stand out from the norm.

Opting to utilize plants with varying heights can also improve visual interest. For instance, if a client’s signage is on a slope, you can start with shorter, bright annuals and gradually increase plant heights to encourage the eye to move upwards as well.  

Consider the Company’s Brand

Branding is powerful and it can make an impression on your client’s customers if even their property’s flowers match their company colors. Obviously, some company brands will lend themselves to this concept more than others.

An example of this is if a client’s main brand color is red. In the spring, you could have a swath of red tulips, and then in the summer, you can install red begonias and round out the fall with red chrysanthemums. You could also accent a company’s signage with plants in a complementary color.

Don’t Forget Foliage

Photo: Jill Odom

Seasonal color doesn’t just have to focus on flowers. Different plant foliage provides various textures and colors that can make a plant bed more dynamic. Foliage can be particularly helpful during the fall and winter months, providing structure and interest during those seasons.

If you’re working with containers, annual grasses can provide frilly plumes and certain vines offer interesting variegation. Tropicals can also make an visual pop with their unique shapes.

Favor Fashion Trends

While fashion is a fickle thing and some trends can be quite short-lived, you can take advantage of this with a seasonal color program as the annuals you use won’t be in the landscape long term.

Pantone is known for their Color of the Year, but they also have a yearly spring/summer palette that complements that color. These shades are can serve as a nice jumping-off point for possible plant hues to incorporate. If your client likes to be on the cutting edge, opting to utilize the colors that are “in” for that season can help fulfill that desire.

Seek Out Inspiration

Lastly, another way to stay inventive is to seek out inspiration by traveling to other areas and seeing what they’re doing with their seasonal color programs. This could mean visiting other landscape industry peers or conducting a little reconnaissance while on vacation around the country or overseas.

Every climate is different, so you may not be able to use the exact same plant material, but you can capture the concept that was used in an installation.  

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.