One word: PAINT.
For under $30 (roughly the cost of a gallon of paint) you can make a hugely dramatic change in your garden. Adding color to a drab background (whether it be a house wall, or a garden fence) will instantly transform the light, mood, and impact of your garden.
The choice of color is governed by no rule. Pick a color that contrasts with a flowering plant, such as a blue wall behind a red rosebush. Or, make an ugly cinderblock retaining wall disappear by tinting it dark green to blend with the surrounding foliage.
Add a quiet Zen-like accent by painting a wall a rich medium brown and placing a lacquered black pot hot with bamboo against it.
This advice is best shown in pictures, so I've used a little computer magic to make my point:
Plain vanilla versus rich caramel setting off a vine.
Instant warmth! Imagine the setting sun lighting this muted red wall.
White roses are incredible against a deep blue background.
Coprosma, ceanothus, and blue juniper contrast with a brick orange stucco garden wall.
Plain gray cinderblock
Now with a light stain of ochre.
Some of the most dramatic landscapes in the Southwest have been created by Steve Marino, whose trademark is placing striking architectural plants such as Agave against deeply saturated color. Here is an example of his work:
So, I say, go have some fun! If it doesn't work, or if you get tired of it, all you have to do is paint it back the same color it was. But I bet you won't!
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