Let the serene hue of Classic Blue, the Pantone Color Institute’s 2020 Color of the Year, bring a sense of calm to your outdoor space this year. The deep blue tone — drawn from the sky just before nightfall — feels classic, dependable and seasonless, which bodes well when investing in outdoor furnishing pieces. A color drawn from nature, it pairs well with leafy greens and natural outdoor materials such as wood and stone. Flowers in Classic Blue bring depth to pastel-themed beds and complement other jewel tones like wine red, orange, magenta, and golden yellow blooms.
See nine ways to incorporate this beautiful blue in your garden or other outdoor spaces, including plants, pottery, tile, and furnishings.
The Pantone Color Institute describes Classic Blue as a timeless and enduring hue that brings a sense of peace and tranquility.
When looking for Classic Blue landscape additions, choose clear shades of blue that don’t feel green or purple. True blue flowers can be rare compared with other colors in nature, but they are worth seeking out or — in the case of changing hydrangeas — producing through manipulation.
1. Blue-and-White Pottery
Many cultures have a tradition of pottery painted blue and white, and the blue hue is generally spot-on for — you guessed it — Classic Blue. Choose an antique or contemporary blue-and-white vase to display cut branches and blooms from the garden or to showcase on an outdoor table. Relatively heavy medium to large vases and ceramic jars work best for displaying large cut branches, as their mass helps anchor unwieldy arrangements with a low counterweight.
If you’ve never played around with changing the color of your hydrangea with soil additives, you may be surprised how simple it is. Hydrangeas change color depending on the pH of the soil. More acidic soils (pH level of less than 5.5) produce bluer flowers; more alkaline soils (pH level of greater than 5.5) produce pinker blooms. The relationship between soil pH to bloom color falls on a gradient, so you’ll produce a nice range of purples in between.
- Tip: How to change hydrangeas from pink to blue. To change pink flowers to something close to Classic Blue, you need to increase the acidity level of your soil with aluminum sulfate or a naturally acidic organic amendment, such as coffee grounds. To use aluminum sulfate (available at garden stores), add a few tablespoons to a bucket of water and pour over the base of the plant. Repeat three weeks later, then wait. The color change can take up to a year, depending on your soil’s initial acidity. When using coffee grounds, spread the grounds on the soil around the plant; repeat often to gradually lower soil pH.Alternatively, you can also turn bluish or purple hydrangeas pink. (Who knows, maybe Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2021 will be ‘Hydrangea Pink’.) Sprinkle a few tablespoons of lime around the base to produce pink blooms.
3. Throws and Pillows
Throws and accent pillows can be an easy, low-commitment way to bring a hint of Classic Blue to your deck or patio without changing your outdoor color scheme. Try mixed prints that pull in the deep blue as well as other hues from your seating area, or go for a pop of solid Classic Blue for more color impact.
4. Mixed Borders
Classic Blue is a chameleon color in planted borders — it can look dark or bright, depending on what’s planted alongside it. In a watercolor palette, like this perennial border in the Hamptons, New York, it works with purple blooms to add depth to the pastel blooms, making them look even more airy and ethereal in comparison. (The blue flowers used here are Delphinium elatum ‘Magic Fountain’.)
Planted alongside dark foliage colors or in shadowy borders, Classic Blue blooms will stand out as bright, vivid spots of color. The color also plays well with other jewel tones, magentas, and pinks, or it can help cool down hot-colored palettes of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows.
5. Outdoor Furnishings
If you’re up for a larger investment, upgrade your outdoor furniture with Classic Blue upholstery. The color enhances a poolside setting — evoking the deep blue of water — and pairs well with wicker or teak. Given that the saturation of the color is part of its allure, choose an outdoor upholstery fabric that is fade-resistant.
6. Garden Stools
Garden stools are classic, versatile accent pieces that add a lively jolt of color and pattern to any spot. Celebrate Classic Blue by choosing a stool in the hue, and use it as an extra seat, a garden accent or as a spot to place a potted plant or rest a glass.
7. Tiled Accent
Get in on the Classic Blue action with tile. The designers of this Spanish-style home created an accent wall of blue tile as a gorgeous backdrop for a fountain in this San Diego courtyard. Other ideas for adding tile include: in mixed paving, to line steps, as the backsplash for an outdoor kitchen or set into built-in benches.
8. Outdoor Rug
It doesn’t get more summer-ready or bare feet-friendly than rolling out an outdoor rug on a deck or patio. For this deck on the Scituate Harbor in Massachusetts, homeowner Danielle Driscoll used a blue-and-white outdoor rug in a Moroccan tile pattern to help transform a once-tired space into her family’s go-to spot for summer hangouts.
9. Sky Reflection
To capture a bit of the beauty of Classic Blue in your garden, you don’t really need to plant or purchase anything at all. Fill a bowl or any other vessel you have with water and pull a bit of that sky-before-dusk hue down to ground level and enjoy a moment of quiet calm.
This article was originally featured on Houzz.