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Science-based gardening information for Colorado communities from CSU Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado.

1111 – Using Hot Colors or Pastels   arrow

Bright bold colors like red, yellow and orange are exciting and stand out. They are called hot colors. Blues, violets and greens are cool colors. They are relaxing and tend to fade. Bright, bold colors should be
used to draw attention. Cool colors should be used near places for relaxing, like a hammock.

More bright colors are used in Colorado because the area’s intense sunlight fades and washes out colors. The natural surroundings have more earth tones to them, with reddish rocks or sandstone and dry prairie grasses. Even the gray concrete of urban settings is set off with brighter colors. In the east, northwest and European areas, there are many more tree, green grasses and shrubs, providing background for gardens. Those shady, leafy forests are better combined with pastels and light colors that highlight those dark areas.

Our natural landscape gives us hints of types of architecture, color and culture that fit with the area. Bright red, orange and yellow are more visible in the full sun and blend with the local flavor. White, pale yellow and pastel pink fade under Colorado’s intense sunlight. In older established neighborhoods, lighter colors work well where trees shade streets and houses, on the north side of buildings, against lots of dark green evergreens or large expanses of lawns.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

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