How to Add Color to your Winter Landscape Design

February 14, 2012

WoodworkingNow is the winter of our discontent – there’s a reason why The Bard chose the coldest season of the year for this famous line. Winter’s cold, dreary weather seems to turn the world’s palette to monochrome. Everything appears brown, gray, black and white as the cold season drags on. Yet your garden doesn’t have to be as drab as all of that. By implementing the ideas we’ve listed below, you’ll be able to design landscape areas that will be colorful and attractive all winter long.

Look at the Bare Bones of your Landscape Design

Winter is the perfect time to assess the structure of your garden, such as walkways, patios and pergolas. With all those pesky leaves gone, you can get a good look at the skeleton of your landscape design. For instance, you might ask yourself if your walkways look boring or beautiful in the wan winter light. If “boring” is the answer, plan to replace pavers with more colorful options come spring. (Terra cotta, citrus cream – these are only a few of the delicious paver tones available today.)

In the meantime, add interest to barren areas by adorning them with a statue, an arrangement of dried plants or a fountain. (Of course, your Portland or Beaverton landscaper would emphasize that you shouldn’t attempt to run water fountains in the winter in areas that consistently see temperatures below freezing.) Finally, adding outdoor lighting can turn any bland winter landscape into a stunning show for passersby.

Add Color with Patio Furniture and Other Accessories

Turn inanimate parts of your garden into eye candy by painting them in cheerful, bright tones.  As an example, a chartreuse Adirondack chair will brighten your patio space all winter long. Birdhouses are another opportunity to add color; they also allow you to enjoy bird watching throughout the coldest season of the year. Especially in mild climates, as found in Portland and Beaverton, landscaper types often become enchanted with the tiny aviators who keep singing throughout the coldest days of the year.

Choose Plants with Year-Round Interest

The most traditional approach to creating colorful wintertime landscape design is to select species that will naturally add interest. Below are a few characteristics to look for as you peruse your local nursery, looking for inspiration for your design; landscape experts look for these traits when planning interesting winter gardens:

  • Interesting bark, as found in Himalayan Birch and Madrone trees.
  • Colorful berries in the winter, such as the bright purple fruits of beautyberry. (Bonus: Your feathered friends will be more attracted to your yard if you offer berry sustenance.)
  • Year-round greenery, as exemplified by rhododendrons and coniferous evergreen trees.
  • Unusual shapes, such as that of the corkscrew willow. Leave ornamental grasses, with their fascinating form, in place over the winter to add interest.

Finally, don’t assume you can’t do functional gardening just because it’s cold outside. Especially in temperate zones, such as Tigard and Beaverton, landscaper experts say we can enjoy cold-season crops such as spinach and kale despite the wintery weather.