Winter eats up a full quarter of the calendar, but too many gardeners give it exactly zero percent consideration when planning their landscapes. It’s a time when the garden just shuts down under a blanket of white, right? I mean, why landscape for the winter when Jack Frost automatically gives you the kind of scenery that Karen W gets in her Michigan yard every year, right?
But with just a little bit of foresight and advance planning, you can give your garden extra “wow” for when the white stuff starts falling. Of course, evergreen trees are the quintessential choice for winter interest in the landscape. The whole idea of an “evergreen” is foliage that stays put all year long. Think about trees like holly, cedar, spruce, and arborvitae. Add a few inches of flurries, though, and you get a Norman Rockwell Christmas card come to life, like in Lark’s Dousman, WI yard:
But deciduous trees can look just as cool when it’s cold out. Many species have natural growth habits that create great architectural interest when the branches are bare. Some feature peeling bark that’s really eye-catching in the winter months. Others even have brightly-colored branches that stand out against a snowy backdrop. And any plant that holds its berries through the winter is sure to become a focal feature come December or so. Again, check out Lark’s yard:
A winter berry-producing plant also attracts birds to your garden, providing them with a food source when they need it most. That’s just another way to add interest to the landscape, encouraging local wildlife to venture right up to your window and put on a show for you to enjoy as you sip a warm beverage inside next to a roaring fire. No berry plants? Bird feeders will serve the same function… and often attract more than just birds. How about this yuletide visitor looking for a nibble in Jannetie’s landscape in Red Hook, NY:
Your landscape is made up of more than just plants, and those hardscape elements will also get blanketed when the flakes start flying. Fences, arbors, statues, and even boulders take on a totally different look with a few inches of snow on top. If you live in a climate where the snow piles up, think about that as you choose focal features to place in your yard. Check out the DeSoto, MO yard of D Weber- that simple garden bench and wagon look picture-perfect under a heavy dusting.
The best thing, though, about an occasional snowstorm is that even if your yard isn’t designed for winter interest, all it takes is a few hours to create your own winter wonderland focal point… even if it’s just a temporary one.