Paint & Politics

Paint colors are an incredibly sensitive issue!

As a landscape architect firm we are often asked to look at the garden as a comprehensive whole. A comprehensive approach includes ALL elements of the garden including paint.

We absolutely love to design all aspects of the outdoor space and the paint color of the architecture is an incredibly important element of the design. 

What we have learned over the years is how sensitive and politically explosive this color selection can be.

Very often we work with homeowners associations and architectural review boards, both of which are usually quite calm and cooperative.  However, there are moments that can become angry, combative and at times even violent. 

I've served myself for many years on architectural review boards and I have seen arguments occur over seemingly minor issues, including paint color selection! 

And maybe it should be that way some times because colors ARE important!  Unfortunately most of the arguments I have witnessed are not because of amazing paint schemes, but usually they are regarding avoiding anything creative or different, or dare I say edgy? 

Recently a client of mine, after taking many days reviewing several potential colors, chose a beautiful and conservative shade of cream. 

While we were painting the house a disgruntled neighbor came over to stop the painter and even accosted the homeowner saying they were not allowed to paint that color on that street and he was angry that they were doing it. 

After an argument and another meeting with the architectural review board it was decided to maintain the color. The color is primarily yellow but perhaps a half shade toward beige, very conservative, and it still looks yellow and is frankly beautiful!

The sad thing about the story is the argument really had nothing to do with architecture, the garden or even the architectural standard of the HOA.  It really had more to do with power, politics and I'm sad to say envy.

A lot of things transpired in that community that were unnecessary started by the politics of paint!  Moral of the story: Choose your paint wisely and make sure it gets APPROVED by your local jurisdiction BEFORE you buy the paint!!