Six Ways To Add Cheer To Your Winter Landscape
While the warm glow of holiday lights brightens the December landscape, Pacific Northwest yards tend to fade into a gray-green mono-scape once the lights come down and winter settles in. As landscapers, we embrace all the seasons–even winter–and we design yards with four seasons in mind. This goes beyond plantings. Yes, evergreen plants, shrubs, and trees are a mainstay, but there are many ways to add year-round interest and cheer to your yard. Here are some of our favorites.
- Foliage, Bark & Winter Blooms
Evergreen trees and shrubs are a given, but many other plants can fill in your winter landscape with an interesting mix of color, texture, and shape. Some trees, like the red twig dogwood or coral bark maple, for example, are noted for their showy red bark which is most visible in winter when the limbs are bare. A wide variety of shrubs boast year-round foliage and colorful winter berries, such as lingonberry, cranberry cotoneaster, and pyracantha. Ornamental grasses can break up a barren landscape with shape and texture. Pampas, miscanthus, and feather reed are popular grasses for their showy plumes. Winter blooming plants, such as winter camellias and daphnes, hellebores, and others, will also add cheer to your landscape in the dead of winter.
- Hardscapes & Special Features
Plants are not the only scene stealers in the landscape. In fact, sometimes the main attraction is the hardscapes–walls, pathways, patios, pergolas–and other special features like benches, statuary, fountains, ponds, and streams. Large rocks can also be strategically placed and integrated into your landscape design for a natural, yet stunning effect. The beauty of these landscape elements is that they look good year-round and offer an interesting focal point in your yard, no matter the season.
- Containers “Dressed” for Winter
Empty hanging baskets, window boxes, and flower pots can look a bit forlorn through the winter months, but they don’t need to sit idle waiting for spring. Some containers qualify as art in and of themselves and deserve to be on display year-round. Adorning your favorite winter-hardy containers with a variety of evergreen boughs and twigs can add a touch of style or whimsy. Just be sure any containers you set out are protected from the elements and don’t fill with water that can freeze and then crack your pots. Lanterns, birdhouses, and bird feeders can also be artfully placed, bringing life to empty planter boxes, containers, or other corners of your yard.
Lighting isn’t just for the holidays. Lighting up your landscape, no matter the season is a great way to add warmth, ambiance, and cheer–especially in the winter! From string lights and lanterns to solar lights and installed lighting systems on timers, there are a number of ways to illuminate your landscape with outdoor lighting.
- Fire & Heat
Of course, nothing beats the original source of light: fire. Whether it’s a portable fire pit or a built-in fire element, the warm glow of flames softens the night adding both warmth and light to your landscape. Outdoor heaters, free-standing or installed under patio covers, are wonderful for warming your outdoor rooms.
- Four-Season Design
Unless you are a true all-season gardener, the last thing you want to do is muck about your yard in the cold and rain. We understand! That’s why the best tip we can offer is this: To easily bring winter cheer into your landscape, it helps to start with a four-season design that will be beautiful year-round. If this isn’t your yard (yet), then grab some hot cocoa, curl up by the window, and start dreaming about what you want to see in your landscape.
Winter is the best time of year for this type of daydreaming. With all the leaves gone and plants hibernating for the season, you essentially have a blank slate. It is also the best time to reach out to a professional landscape designer like us–before we get booked up for spring and summer! Our experts can help you create the ideal four-season landscape, full of winter cheer.
Contact Landscape East & West today to get started.