The Plant Native

Three-Color Native Gardens: an easy way to landscape

Gardening from scratch can be overwhelming—dozens of choices pile up, fast. 

One way to easily plan a garden is to use the three-color method. The three-color method is just as easy as it sounds: you pick three colors and stick to plants within this color range. This simple decision makes visits to the local plant nursery easy, and creates a unified garden in no-time. Let’s explore some native plant colors and get inspired.

The purple of False Blue Indigo paired with yellow Golden Alexanders are a perfect spring combo

Replacing lawn with a native garden returns beauty, butterflies, and saves you time. But getting started can be difficult. Going to almost any plant nursery will mean facing dozens of different plants. How do you pick which ones to plant?

Enter the three-color garden.

The benefits of the three-color garden

Picking and sticking to three colors in our garden helps in lots of ways:

  1. Makes decision-making easy. Once you’ve got your three colors, it’s easy to say yes/no to plants.
  2. Quickly unifies the garden. Picking three colors quickly brings harmony to a garden.
  3. Helps look professionally landscaped. You don’t have to hire a professional landscaper to plant native. Picking three colors quickly brings professional polish.

What if I want to add another color?

You can always add another color, another plant, or change your mind in the future! Most native perennial flowers are easily dug up and moved around—even after years of being planted somewhere. You can easily start with a three-color garden and expand your palette in the future.

A rainbow of native plant colors

Explore ideas below. Remember to consider flowers, shrubs, and trees in your color choices.

White flowers

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Buttonbush

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Carolina Silverbell

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Culver’s Root

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Foamflower

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Franklin Tree

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Goatsbeard

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Mountain Laurel

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Mountain Mint

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Ninebark

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Oakleaf Hydrangea

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Rattlesnake Master

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Serviceberry

Yellow flowers

Purple flowers

Pink flowers

Red flowers

Blue flowers

Still feeling overwhelmed?

Start with a statement tree. As the saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree was yesterday.” An hour of planting a tree will return decades of beauty. Explore a guide on native dogwoods or magnolias to meet a few flowering favorites.

Looking for a tree for your front yard? We got you. Here’s our guide to the best native trees for front yards.

Eastern Flowering Dogwood + Redbud = springtime perfection

Planting trees is incredibly simple and straightforward—all it takes is a shovel, some compost, and the hose. 

The three-color native garden is an easy way to bring together garden choices and plant native. Planting native plants helps butterflies survive and saves us an enormous amount of time, especially compared to lawns or non-native plants.

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