Great theater helps us transcend reality and rise above our everyday vexations. It captures us in a way that is contemplative and inspirational by stimulating brainwaves we often overlook in this frenetic world. Perhaps this is why one hot wall in a room of the house or in a garden can make profound changes to the character of the adjacent space. Hot colors are stimulating to the eye, but nowhere do they function as well as when painted on a garden’s accent wall.
What makes a hot red or orange or neon yellow wall so amazing is how it works with green plants. Red hues are complementary to greens, making them visually vibrate and providing real theater for featuring your most beautiful plants.
When you grow a succulent in front of a hot wall, something unique happens. These often rigid and geometrically shaped plants feature crisp, clean edges and bold forms compared to softer shrubs and perennials. In the open air, these edges aren’t as crisp because backgrounds are more neutral, so they can lose some of their drama. An ordinary prickly pear cactus against a hot wall reveals its ping-pong-paddle-shaped stems in a whole new way year-round. Special effects come with spring flowers and summer fruits that ripen yellow and orange.
Big potted plants and art are outstanding against a hot wall. Blend all of these together for a beautiful composition of plants and accents to show off their own texture, color and form.
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Never forget that walls are shadow boxes. If lighted by placing a low voltage fixture in front of the plants, their shadows are cast onto the wall behind. Shadows can elongate to exaggerate spines or other shapes for dramatic effects.
For those who’ve never experimented with hot walls, the key is to do a color test before you decide on the hue. Paint each possible candidate color in a sizable square to see how hot it really is in the sunlight and what it looks like under night lighting. This should help you make a choice so the wall pops the way you want it to.
Hot walls are ideally stucco, but any kind of siding or fence material can take hot color, too. Use in any scenario as an immediate problem-solver, particularly in small city gardens and rental yards. For under $20, you can create your own hot wall in a weekend. Turn the back of an old shed into a beautiful setting for your own personal space. Control your patio views by offering a visually compelling focal point. Make that condo courtyard new with 21st century modern hues.
The beauty of one hot wall is you can change it next year, and the one after that. It can evolve with your own interests and palette over time. You’re not committing to a huge area, so if it doesn’t look quite right, try another shade. There is no better way to get that California designer look than setting plants off on a hot wall.