How colours can change your moods

Gradening writer Hannah Stephenson takes a look at how colour in the garden can affect your mood, as a new survey on happiness is released.

Are you a person who goes for hot reds and acid yellows or do you prefer a softer palette of pinks, creams and soft blues?

The colours you choose for your garden can affect how you feel - and it seems gardeners must be getting it right, as new research from BBC Gardeners’ World magazine shows that gardeners generally are a happier bunch than non-gardeners.

Colour psychologist Angela Wright, author of The Beginner’s Guide To Colour Psychology (Kyle Cathie, £12.99), reports: “Different colours affect us in different ways. Red is physically stimulating.

“It raises our pulse rate and makes us over-estimate the temperature around us.”

She adds that what defines whether a colour such as blue is calming or stimulating is the saturation of colour. Strong, bright blues stimulate, while pale blues soothe. Yellow is a positive colour that lifts our spirits.

Green helps to restore us, while the other two main colours in the colour wheel have qualities of their adjacent primary colours - orange bringing together the warmth of red and the optimism of yellow, while mauve is unusual in that it combines the fieriness of red and the coolness of blue.

The survey shows that 64 per cent of people like cool flower colours while 36 per cent prefer hot colours.

Wright believes it’s possible to work out your preferred palette by analysing your personality.

Those who are cool and calm by nature, who prefer understated elegance and have a natural gift for keeping things in proportion, are more likely to favour a garden palette of soft pinks, mauves, purples and pale blues.

People with intense energy, with a bossy nature and natural driving force, are more likely to go for rich golds, reds, oranges and warm purples, while creative and energetic types, who love perfection and whose energy is contained, should favour white, tints of pale blue and green with occasional rich dark contrasts.

And those who are in their element in the garden, trying to bring the outdoors indoors with many indoor plants, are more likely to have an unfussy design of garden, with bright single blooms and simple mid-tone colours of sky blue, yellow and bright green.