After writing my last post on colour in planting schemes it seemed a natural progression to write advice on how to design for someone who is colour blind.

If you are colour blind yourself then you will already know from experience what looks good and what doesn’t but for those of us who aren’t then it can be difficult to picture your world.

Colour blindness affects around 1-20 men and around 1-200 women according to the BBC Health website.

When designing for someone who is colour blind you must discover the form their colour blindness takes, it is in fact very rare for a person to have the severe form in which all colours appear as black and white or hues of grey.

Protanomaly, a common form, affects the red pigment meaning that reds, oranges and yellows will appear duller and violets and purples will have a stronger green pigment than red making them actually appear blue.


Another slightly less common form, Deuteranomaly, does the same to green pigments meaning reds, oranges and yellows all appear slightly more red and therefor more vibrant.

Another form, Protanopia, that also affects the red, yellow and orange pigments. This will have more of an affect on design as reds are often seen as black or grey. This affects the red pigment in other colours causing yellow hues to show very little difference and blue hues are similarly affected. Green is seen as another hue of yellow and purple as another blue.
An example of the effect on garden design will be when Pink flowers are seen as blue due to missing red pigment.


Deuteranopia affects the green pigment in the same way and therefor the person will see blues and reds with greens appearing as a hue of grey with tints of red and blue. Reds and oranges and yellows as hues of red.
There for grass will appear as a grey with a slight red and blue tint.

Designing a garden in this way can be challanging as a beautiful combination to you could to your client look awful and even clashing. After this type of design job I have never looked at flower and foliage colour in the same way again.