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The gardener’s color of the year is… terracotta! Here’s how to use it in your yard

Did you know there was a gardener’s color of the year?

Every January our fashion and design friends buzz about the color of the year. In 2023, the Pantone color is magenta. You may not know, however, that the gardening world has their own color, and their own buzz. From al fresco dining accessories, to the plant pots you choose for the front door – your outdoor surroundings are going to be influenced by the gardener’s color of the year, which is terracotta.

Horticulturist Sheriden Hansen shares why it’s already time to think about gardening in 2023, and how to start with color.

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Why pick terracotta as the gardener’s color of the year?

  • Terracotta adds warmth and vibrancy to any outdoor scheme. After years of gray and white and the coolness associated with COVID and distance, it is time to liven things up and warm up to each other.
  • It is a soft but powerful color. It has all the qualities or orange: enthusiasm, spontaneous, energy giving and joyful, but it is more comforting due to the mix of brown.
  • It is also a grounding color. It brings us back to nature and connects us to the earth which is important during difficulty.
  • It also adds texture to the garden
  • It is easy to work with – you can use it in any garden scheme (Mediterranean to Southwest to English cottage gardens).

How to use it


  • The obvious: terracotta containers for pops of color in the garden and on the patio. Terracotta is relatively inexpensive, so it is easy to pick up a bunch of them and group them together. I like altering container style just a bit so that it isn’t boring (wide lipped, slightly different colors, decorative containers mixed with plain). Pick up some statement containers to really set things off and plant them with some dramatic plant choices.


  • Use it in plant selection. Oranges will be popular this year so you should be able to find an assortment of orange hues to add to the garden. Also remember to offset the orange with contrasting colors to really make it stand out (it really pops against purple and blue hues).


  • In garden furniture: if you are updating any of your garden furniture or cushions this year, add a pop of color with terracotta and oranges to your throw pillows, etc.

Sheriden Hansen serves as an assistant professor of horticulture with the Utah State University Extension. She holds a Masters in Plant Science from Utah State University. Sheriden loves to teach about fruit and vegetable production, how to grow crops in small spaces and container gardening. Sheriden is married with two sons. She is a registered nurse and beekeeper.

Sheriden is with the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville. Here you will find beautiful walk-through gardens and a full roster of classes and family activities. Get connected with the Botanical Center here.