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Incorporating Red Into Your Landscape Design

February 2024

From left to right (1st row):

Tulips (Tulipa spp.), Rose (Rosa spp.), Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

From left to right (2nd row):

Dahlia (Dahlia spp.), Japanese Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles japonica), Mums (Chrysanthemum x morifolium)


When I think of the color red, as one does as we approach Valentine's Day, it makes me think about the various ways one can incorporate the color within your landscape design. Red is often so vibrant and eye-catching, that I believe that red should be used sparingly - in very specific moments in the garden or as a focal point. 

When deciding to use the color red as a focal point, I usually look for a tree, perennial, or shrub that will provide the homeowner with not only seasonal interest, (for example: using a Japanese Maple that turns red in the fall) but will also be visually cohesive to the design as well as being something that would fit well in the native landscape.

Another way I tend to use red in design is to use a flowering plant to create a singular moment in the garden where the red will shine and be appreciated for its flowering beauty. For example, to add a quick early-spring pop of color I've used red tulips and red coneflower in designs to catch the eye of anyone gazing at the gardens.

I find myself often inspired by Gertrude Jekyll, a British horticulturist, garden designer, and photographer/artist who would make sure to use color and form as a means of highlighting beautiful moments she captured in her work. 

Below are some more examples of red plants that I have used in past designs:

Red Hibiscus Waterfront Property Pool

This Hibiscus plant was placed as a focal point in a water garden on a client's property. They attract butterflies and bees and are often used for their showy flower when in full bloom.

Crepe Myrtle trees provide a pop of color

These Crepe Myrtles were used as a bright pop of color against a client's front foundation of their home. The plant is a late summer bloom with beautiful bark. They love the sun, so plan accordingly when planting these beautiful trees.

Eye catching succulents Hen and Chicks stand out in rock lined pathway

Hen and Chicks (a type of succulent) love dry, well-drained soil. This plant does not like wet feet. Here, I've used this plant for visual interest in what was a lackluster rock pathway.

Red Japanese Maple Tree is an eyecatching standout amongs the greenery of the garden.

This Japanese Maple was the perfect addition to this client's garden. The tree's reddish color is beautiful and rich. It was very much chosen as a focal point and used as a striking visual layer in the garden.

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