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Ireland-inspired architectural color for your home and garden

St. Patrick's Day in the U.S.A. shines lime light on Ireland--also known as the Emerald Island. In America, St. Patrick's Day is synonymous with green shamrocks, green beer, and the wearin’ of the green.

Irish people are not afraid of color. And not everything on the Emerald Isle is green. While flowers add relief to this vivid combination.
Photos by Colleen Smith for Friday Jones Publishing

But in Ireland, green is not the only color adding brilliance to homes and gardens. The Irish are not afraid of color. While the island itself is predominantly green, the Irish people paint exterior doors and gates, garden walls, window boxes, arbors and other architectural features every vibrant color of the rainbow.
Colorful exterior doors add charm and cheer to Dublin and other Irish cities and towns. The doors of Dublin’s Georgian architecture range from stately black to sunshine yellow and just about every other color in between. In Ireland, shopkeepers paint their store fronts vivid, eye-popping combinations of fuchsia and violet, salmon and orchid, cherry red and canary yellow.
A pop of color on an exterior door, a wall, a bench or table, an Adirondack chair or other piece will add whimsy or sophistication to your home or garden.

A few tips before you pick up your paint brush:

• Remember, when choosing color for your garden, consider the overall surroundings: the colors of your brick or siding, roof, flowers and other elements.

• The bigger the color risk, the bigger the reward. See the slide show for interesting color combinations.

•Ask your favorite paint store whether they have paint samples or large swatches so you can try the color before investing in the color.

• Remember to look at the color in various lighting from full sun to shade.

• And know that if you don't like the color, you can always paint over it. It's only paint.

Add some color to your home, garden, or business. Take your inspiration from this slide show with images of Irish exterior color just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

• Read about Newgrange, a World Heritage Site in Ireland that dates to the Stone Age and was built 500 years earlier than the pyramids at Giza. A slide show lets you tour this amazing structure built especially to mark Winter Solstice.

• Ireland is famous for shamrocks, but the Irish gardens include lots of other plants, too. Check out this slide show that shows off the green thumbs of Ireland: My wild Irish rose and other flowers of Ireland.

••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.

You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••

Colleen Smith writes from and gardens in Denver, Colorado. She's been a longtime regular contributor to The Denver Post, Colorado Expression, Sunset Magazine, and other publications.

Colleen Smith's gift book "Laid-Back Skier" makes a charming gift! This whimsical, inspirational book features original illustrations of ski bunnies and encouragement for life's ups and downs. Watch "Laid-Back Skier's" brief YouTube video here.

• Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”—a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e—book.

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