Get a Knack

Get a Knack

Edgy and sophisticated, black is getting a second in architecture and interiors. Black in the backyard? It may do the job superbly when used well. Inky walls help the edges of the garden recede, dark patios ground a design and black containers contrast with light, finely textured foliage.

Could you use black in the backyard? Here are a few ideas to get you started.


1. Dark surfacing. Utilizing black or dark gray as a coating for patios and paths gives a design gravitas. In this case black Mexican beach slopes juxtaposed with lighter hardscape elements help draw the attention to the center of the area. Proceed on dark ground surface treatments from warm climates, however, as they may conduct a considerable amount of heat.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

2. Moody walls and fences. A white fencing can be difficult on the eye. As gardener and author Christopher Lloyd notes, white “pulls your attention but leaves you wish it hadn’t.” Not so with black fencing, which tends to recede into the background, helping to combine the website’s border into the surrounding landscape.

This traditional-style fence is quietly stunning in black. As with all paint, test your selection first. Colors will read differently with sunlight, cloudy skies and color. Black looks especially crushing in overcast climates. A great fence shade is Studio Green by Farrow & Ball. This green is so dim, it seems almost black.

Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design

Black tends to be severe. The dark backdrop here heightens the layout’s formality and draws attention to the rhythm made by the lighter trunks of the pleached trees. So chic!

Shirley Meisels

Not always so severe, though. This garden has picture punch. The metallic grids add texture into the darkened wall and keep the mood from feeling too somber, as well as the chartreuse white and tables sofa add a jolt of fun.

Matt Kilburn

3. Chalkboard walls. Here is black being downright enjoyable. In urban areas where space is at a premium, a chalkboard wall is an ideal means to help make a child-friendly space. This one features holes for climbing holds.

June Scott Design

4. Dark-bottomed water features. When you’re choosing the plaster colour of your water feature or swimming pool, you are in fact determining the water shade. Ponds and water features with dark plaster interiors have a tendency to make the water seem a deep azure. They also create a mirror effect, reflecting the sky and surrounding landscape.

Howard Design Studio

This pool feels mysterious and looks deeper than it is, getting the focus of the room and balancing the darkened pergola above. Dark-bottomed pools have a tendency to seem more naturalistic, and this one feels just right for the wooded surrounding landscape. Reflecting less sunlight than light-bottomed pools, dark-bottomed pools additionally benefit from solar gain.

Eric Aust Architect

5. Black and white. At once classic and contemporary, black and white are crisp choices for the garden. The combo contrast could make a simple space feel chic. Details such as the patterned seat cushions here keep the look lively.

Swell Homes

Pair black and white with a great deal of green foliage to get a brand new, bold look. With a simple palette of such high contrast, it’s important to balance all the colours and elements involved. The black elements in this case help stabilize the ethereal whiteness of the walls and patio.

Debora carl landscape design

6. Dark garden focal points. A focal point leads the eye and gives it somewhere to rest. Position focal points to be the first thing you see in the area, with surrounding garden elements used to encourage them. A dark focal element has a strong enough presence to be a stunning centerpiece.

Austin Patterson Disston Architects

Black may also be utilized as a supporting player, as the underpinning for a focus.

Zeterre Landscape Architecture

7. Black foliage. I am the first to admit that plants with dark foliage can be tricky to use. Massive areas of darkness can read as a “gap” from the design if not carefully positioned.

The key to using dark foliage successfully is to pair it with a lighter, brighter counterpart. The golden moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) slinking under the black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) here helps to give the mondo grass its definition.

Arterra Landscape Architects

On a larger scale, within an overall planting design, carefully with dark foliage to direct the eye (in this case toward the container) can give a planting depth and goal.

Sander Design Landscape Architecture

8. Black outside furnishings. Utilizing black round the perimeter grounds also defines the space. As a neutral, black pairs nicely with almost any other colour.

Lenkin Design Inc: Landscape and Garden Design

This stunning seating area showcases black picture attributes. The black furnishings and charcoal-colored built-ins appear to create the white glass fire component sparkle even more, and produce the chartreuse rolls feel even fresher.

Bliss Garden Design

9. Dramatic containers. Want a bit of drama, but not prepared for too much black? These containers are like jewelry to the backyard, superbly setting off the leaves that they feature.

See more of this fall garden


Black ceramic containers in precisely the same form and size bring stability to this assortment of plantings. You may even make this effect with other plants, such as cacti, succulents, flowering annuals and ferns.

More: Dare to Mix Things Up in the Landscape

See related

Comments are closed.