According to Brendan, it's important that the colours in our gardens don't clash or compete with each other.
When choosing plants, first decide what the plant needs to do for you. You might need plants to screen, plants to fill a space or plants to add some razzmatazz. Select a cohesive palette of colours that work well together and stick to just six or so plant varieties in total in any garden.
When we think of colour in the garden we tend to think of flowers. But flowers are come and go. Coloured foliage, on the other hand, will provide year-around colour and, if chosen carefully, will give your flowers added impact when they bloom.
For a neutral palette, colours with a grey base work best. Grey-blue or grey-green foliage will provide a cool, calming, peaceful backdrop and will give your garden a feeling of depth and spaciousness. Brendan loves the blue-grey of James Stirling, Allard's French Lavender and the grass-plant Festuca Glauca.
Finally, pick plants to provide contrast. Brendan loves the deep, dark purple of elephant ears and Heuchera.
It's a good idea pick out a few of your base plants while at the nursery, and then see if your new plant selections work well side by side.