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6 Ways To Brighten Your Winter Landscape

December 8, 2014 by Kristen Hansen, Nursery and Garden Center Manager

It’s no secret that winter can be a harsh season for outdoor spaces – high winds, frigid temperatures and unpredictable flurries take their toll on your landscape. But there are many ways to make your winter landscape a refreshing and colorful place you can be proud of!

It’s often hard to remember that your winter landscape can be just as beautiful as a spring one. Here are six ways you can revitalize your winter landscape and keep it looking fresh and lively.

  1. Add hardscape features. Hardscaping can serve as an important backbone to a well-tended landscape. Rock walls and paths can help direct your view to key areas in the garden, and adding large stone pieces can give the space some substance when most perennials have died back for the season.
  2. Incorporate a variety of plants that have unique features. Some plants that really shine in the winter are red twig dogwoods, Henry Lauder’s walking stick, winterberry and holly. These plants also work great as cut stems for your containers. And don’t hesitate to go big – trees with unusual bark and branches, like the river birch or the London plane tree, along with ornamental grasses with plumes, can add dynamic interest to your space.
  3. Use containers to add character. Winter is perhaps the best time to use seasonal containers. One great (and obvious) benefit of containers is that they’re portable – you can move them to different spots within your landscape and even indoors. Using an assortment of fresh cut greens with different tones and textures can create a beautiful arrangement able to be enjoyed all season long. Throwing in some red twig dogwood sticks, corkscrew willow branches and red vibrant berries will really make your containers stand out. For more ideas on winter containers, click here.
  4. Don’t forget the wildlife. When winter makes everything outside seem dead and dreary, our feathered friends are wonderful reminders that things are actually alive and active! I enjoy making pinecone birdseed feeders, birdseed cookies, and edible garlands strung on trees. Something as simple as feeding the birds can have your garden brimming with life again.
  5. Build a cold frame. An exciting and easy way to extend the growing season is to build a cold frame, which is a protective box for plants. You’ll need a south facing location protected from the wind, good draining soil, rot-resistant lumber (like cedar) and a lid (fiberglass or polyethylene film work well). There are many designs online that you can customize to best suit your needs and will help you construct the frame. Plants that work best in winter months are leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce.
  6. Add statuary and garden décor. Pieces that you enjoy in the spring and summer can still be used to add interest to your winter garden. Sitting spaces used in warmer months can be used to place wild bird feeders and containers with cut greens. Fountains can be wrapped with garlands, and bird baths that are now frozen can be topped with wreaths for the welcome addition of some color.

I hope these tips give you ideas on how you can brighten up your winter landscape and inspire you to make the most out of the season! Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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