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Grow a Spectacular Rainbow Garden
Grow a Spectacular Rainbow Garden
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Cultivating a garden is one of the most rewarding hobbies. Working the soil puts us back in touch with nature and often yields vibrant and fragrant results. Rainbow gardens are becoming a popular trend in landscaping thanks to their breathtaking color schemes and bold designs. They're also a fun and creative way to engage children in learning about nature and color theory. Get your hands dirty next planting season and cultivate your family's first rainbow garden.

01

What is a rainbow garden?

Rainbow gardens are vibrant Roland Magnusson / Getty Images

A rainbow garden is a plot of flowers or plants that grows in all colors of the rainbow: ROY G BIV or red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Colors are often arranged in the familiar arc of a rainbow, though some gardeners elect to showcase their blooms in separately arranged groups. A rainbow garden can beautifully fill large spaces in a yard, but they are just as handsome blooming in a collection of pots on your balcony.

02

The right plants for your rainbow

Group plants with similar needs Rosemary Calvert / Getty Images

Just like any other garden, the first step is to determine which plants will thrive in your plant hardiness zone. Familiarize yourself with your home's year-round climate and make sure every tier of your rainbow garden will tolerate the most extreme temperatures you'll get. Some garden beds require a minimum amount of daylight, while others demand a specific watering schedule. If you're using pots instead of planting into the ground, group plants with similar care requirements together. Choose age-appropriate plants for your children, as well — avoid anything too finicky or toxic.

03

The best spots for rainbow gardens

Make sure your garden fits Darrell Gulin / Getty Images

As you research landscaping options, consider how much space you have at the ready. Lots of plants grow modestly in containers but will spread out when transplanted into the ground. Arrange your flowerbeds so that they accommodate full-sized foliage, allowing them to fill in space over time. An underused corner of your yard works perfectly as a secluded rainbow garden. Lay a path and use archways and lattices to showcase climbing plants. If you have limited space, such as on a front porch, arrange color groups in attractive pots.

04

Establishing a functional viewing space

Lay a stone viewing path Antoninapotapenko / Getty Images

When planning the layout of your garden, identify the most visually stunning angles, and make them the focus. Include a footpath or stepping stones into the design to keep visitors out of your foliage and moving toward the most impressive views. White or neutral-colored stones along the path contrast nicely with the vibrancy of the garden. If you prefer more color, use tiles for a mosaic artwork that complements nearby blooms.

05

Creating harmony with rainbow color groups

Grow flowerbeds in contrasting colors Mitch Diamond / Getty Images

A harmonious rainbow garden doesn't have to resemble the arc of its namesake. You can achieve a similar breathtaking effect by creating color groups. Use a color wheel as your guide to curating patches of flora with unique color schemes. A warm-colored plot could feature red, yellow, and orange blooms adjacent to a garden of foliage in cool purple and blue tones. Complementary colors, hues that are opposite each other on the color wheel, combine to form striking contrasts.

06

A beginner's fool-resistant foliage

Succulents are good for beginners Martin Wahlborg / Getty Images

If you're interested in a rainbow garden for beginners, try your hand at cultivating succulents. These drought-tolerant plants are perfect for your first rainbow garden because they come in a variety of shades and are reasonably easy to maintain as long as their basic needs are met. The real draw of succulents, though, is their ability to change colors with the seasons. Beauties like the ghost plant turn pinkish-yellow in dry heat and blue-gray in partial shade. Plant them in individual pots or group them with stonecrop and aloe in one spacious container.

07

Planting an edible rainbow garden

Vegetables come in all colors TShum / Getty Images

An edible rainbow garden is a multitasker. Growing your own fruits and vegetables saves time and money on trips to the grocery store, provides organic nourishment for your family, and incorporates your harvest into a visually exciting landscaping project. Group similarly-colored fruits and vegetables together, making sure to put tall plants in the center or back of the garden. Make room for companion plants, which benefit each others' growth in the garden, and feel free to combine flowering plants with vegetables and herbs.

08

An educational rainbow garden for children

Use gardening to educate martinedoucet / Getty Images

Planning and caring for a rainbow garden is a fun, hands-on approach to educating children in agricultural sciences. From troubleshooting garden pests to developing color theory, there's a lot to learn when working with nature. Encourage kids to research the proper care of their favorite plants, or assign them to design a plot in their favorite colors. For bonus points, ask your gardeners-in-training to decorate their own garden markers.

09

Attract wildlife with a rainbow pollinator garden

Attract pollinators to your garden Chris Rogers / Getty Images

Pollinators — anything that helps plants transfer pollen and reproduce — are vital to the gardening process. In addition to their contributions to agriculture, pollinators can benefit your home's landscaping and community. Sow a rainbow pollinator garden to enjoy the bright colors and to welcome bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your backyard. Make sure you cultivate regional plants that draw native pollinators, preserving the natural order of the ecosystem.

10

A rainbow herb garden for apartment spaces

Herbs bloom in many colors. VEX Collective / Getty Images

If your space is limited to an upstairs balcony or at the dead-end of a galley kitchen, you've still got enough room for a rainbow herb garden. Herbs and medicinal plants come in various shades of green with blossoms in warm and cool hues. Line a reinforced shelf with potted golden marigolds, deep red basil, fragrant lavender, bright yellow St. John's wort, and red cayenne pepper plants. Regularly incorporate fresh herbs and spices into your cooking, and add additional plants when you're ready to expand your culinary horizons.

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