When you live in a climate that sees both green summers and snowy winters, choosing landscaping that will work year round can be a challenge. Summer is the celebrated month for gorgeous backyard designs, but there’s no reason why your curb appeal and backyard should look any less fabulous during the winter.
Here are some cold-weather landscaping ideas you can incorporate into your landscape design for the best possible aesthetics during the winter months.
Choose Trees and Shrubs for More than Foliage
When you shop for trees and shrubs to complete your landscape, don’t just look at the foliage and flowers. A tree might have beautiful green leaves and a pleasing growth pattern in the summer, but when the leaves fall off, the tree loses all appeal.
It’s best to look at depth and pattern or color of the bark. For example, a basic aspen tree will fade into the snowy, gray background of a winter day, but a dogwood shrub with bright red or yellow bark will still make a visual statement.
Trees with interesting bark patterns, like lacebark pines or beech trees, are better choices for backyard shade trees than a simple oak or mayday tree. A weeping willow, when properly cared for, has an interesting and unique shape and can look ethereal in the snow or frost.
Keep a Working Water Feature
Ask your local landscape company if it’s possible to keep your water feature running safely during the winter. Heated ponds or running fountains can usually withstand mildly cold temperatures. Water provides depth and movement to an otherwise bleak landscape, helping the yard stay visually interesting.
Design the feature with naturally colorful stones. Instead of using gray limestone to finish the sides and bottom of a pond, for example, you might try using rocks sourced from mineral-rich areas that contain streaks of red, green, purple, or white.
Embrace Winter Plants
Many winter plants fade into the background during the bright colors of the summer growing season, but when the flowers and grass fade, the winter plants take the stage. Excellent winter plants that will sustain the beauty of your landscape include:
- Holly. Holly remains green and bright, and the red berries are festive.
- Cranberry bushes. The bushes will lose their leaves, but the colorful berries will remain, luring migrating birds. Birds can be an excellent landscape feature.
- Chokeberry hedges. These hedge-friendly shrubs can be trimmed into barriers within your landscape, and the berries remain a deep red color during the winter months.
- Evergreens. Low-growing junipers, spruce shrubs, and pine trees can be an excellent addition, as they vary in color and texture more than deciduous options.
- Snowdrops. These delicate flowers will bloom as early as January or February, bringing some life to your landscape after the brilliant decor of the holidays.
Your landscaper will have more ideas about plant life that will add interest to your snowy landscape.
Plan for Excellent Hardscaping
If your landscape plan relies too much on plants, trees, grass, and flowers, there is only so much you can do to add interest to the yard. But if you design your landscape with feature hardscape, you’ll increase the visual differences in your landscape and have more usable areas. Examples of winter-friendly non-plant features include:
- Elevated patios. Elevating areas in your yard breaks up the space, and this is important in the winter when there is less color and plant life to provide boundaries.
- Retaining walls for tiered yard sections. Retaining walls provide texture that you will see even when it snows, since the bricks or boards rise vertically from the ground.
- Gazebos and archways. Nothing is more romantic than a snow-covered archway or a gazebo topped with fresh snow. Covered space also provides respite from the snowy yard.
Cobbled walkways, dry creeks, and even bridges and wishing wells also add more to a landscape during cold weather.
For more ideas on maintaining curb appeal through all four seasons, contact us at Estate Landscape.