Memories of Morocco inspire a bold palette

Entering Diana Stratton’s garden in Healdsburg, California, is like stepping into an artist’s canvas. Every inch of the garden designer’s shady hillside retreat is a visual feast.

The garden’s bold, bright palette grew out of Stratton’s childhood memories of living in Morocco. At her home in Healdsburg, she opted for a similarly striking look. Now the once-white greenhouse is painted cobalt blue and trimmed with chartreuse; red and salmon pink roses grow beside it for vivid contrast. A lush assortment of flowers and foliage surrounds them.

Design: Diana Stratton, Diana Stratton Design, Healdsburg, CA (707/433-2582)


Use paint chips to select a palette, or take your design cues from a favorite object (such as a bowl) whose colors appeal to you. Then choose flowers, paint, and furnishings that mirror those colors.

Use high-energy colors such as red and orange sparingly, soothing colors such as green and purple more extensively.

Choose different tones of the same color―lime green, forest green, and apple green, for instance―and use them throughout the garden.

Scatter vivid furnishings, flowers, and pots around the garden as focal points.

Paint a wall, trellis, shed, or bench in one or more of your favorite bright colors. You can always repaint if you don’t like it.


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