Bold use of colour can play a big part in making your garden look great. Repeating the same colour across your garden gives it a rhythm and helps it hang together. The colour can embrace the buildings too. It’s a trick that many of us have learnt.

Let’s talk about especially bold colours, like we did after the Chelsea Flower Show. I’m thinking particularly of colour blocks of intense blue, intense red, orange or pink.

Have you heard of Majorelle blue?

The Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh is primarily a green garden of cacti, bamboo and water-lilies, but there are bursts of blue. The blue is clear, intense and fresh and goes beyond the woodwork, ironwork and pots to include the walls of the villa.

The garden’s designer, the French artist Jacques Majorelle, employed the cobalt blue that was used locally in tiles and buildings in the 1920s. He even trademarked it as Majorelle Blue.

In 1980 the garden was bought by Yves St Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked on bringing it out of disrepair. Today it is a garden with a strong sense of place once again, and very much at ease in Morocco.

To see the thoughtful use of blue pots in the garden, watch this short video about La Majorelle, one of the ‘most glamorous gardens in the galaxy’.

Le jardin Majorelle. Bold

Le jardin Majorelle. By Carlos ZGZ, in the public domain.


Halfway across the globe, in another desert region, there are blue walls and another collection of cacti. This is La casa azul, the artist Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico.

La casa azul - Frida Kahlo's house, Mexico City. Bold

La casa azul - Frida Kahlo's house, Mexico City. © Rod Waddington and reused under

Look elsewhere in Mexico for walls vibrating with pink, with orange, with any bright or deep colour. This really is colour blocking. Would it work for your patio or courtyard?

Pink house, Isla Holbox, Mexico. Bold

Pink house, Isla Holbox, Mexico. © Karyn Christner and reused under

Big bold colours in British gardens

Do these big, bold colours translate to British gardens? I think they do. Remember, when the light is murky or dim, paint and flowers reflect light back more than foliage does, making bright colours really gleam. (I've just checked this as the air is full of light drizzle rather than pulsating with hot sun, despite it being mid-July. It is true.)

Borders full of hot colours are always spectacular. Boldly coloured walls make a big statement in urban courtyards. And splashes of a big brave colour can lead the eye through the greens of a garden.

Patio, Mexico. Bold

Patio, Mexico. © Marco Paköeningrat and reused under

I say, be bold and use bold colour.