Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

The impact of the primary colours yellow, red and, blue on the perception of greenery

Thorpert, Petra; Englund, Jan-Eric; Nielsen, Anders Busse


Colourful flowers and artefacts are frequently used in modern landscape architecture and in site-specific artwork. Despite this, there is limited empirically substantiated understanding of the impact of colour on perceptions of the soft, changing green colour palette of surrounding vegetation, and thus the overall colour perception of green spaces. Applying the CIE 1976 (L*a*b*) colour space, this study showed that the presence of artefacts with different primary colours, shape, size and position significantly changed perceptions of the lightness (L* spectrum) and blue-yellow spectrum (b*) of surrounding green vegetation, while perception of its green-magenta spectrum (a*) remained more or less unchanged. It also showed that colourful artefacts had different effects on different perennials. Overall, the results demonstrate that professionals should pay equal attention to the green hue of surrounding vegetation as to the colour of artefacts or flowers when researching or practising design.


CIE colour space; design; coloured artefact; landscape perception; perennials

Published in

Landscape Research
2019, volume: 44, number: 1, pages: 88-98

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Busse Nielsen, Anders
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)