Winter is the perfect time to plan your garden and revisit your existing landscape.  If you are like me, you long for spring. But, while plants may go dormant in the winter, you don’t have to. Use these off months to your advantage and see where your landscape could use a little interest. 

See Clearly

The bones of your garden are more visible during winter than any other time of year. When you look out at your landscape now, what do you see? Is there any interest? Or, is it just bare skeletons and bare dirt? What might be out of balance and where might you add some structure, color, or even texture? Winter allows you the opportunity to see your sight lines clearly and see what sight lines are important to keep and which one might be better suited being blocked.

Four-Season Interest

Pay attention to your sight lines from indoors and select plants that will perk up your landscape when viewed from inside.

I love Japanese Holly ‘Drops of Gold’ (Ilex Japonica ‘Drops of Gold’). An evergreen holly with a splash of yellow, this shrub brightens up landscapes all year long.

Euonymus ‘Silver King’ is another evergreen with variegated foliage that I enjoy in the landscape all year, but seems especially important in winter.

Euonymus 'Silver King'

Euonymus ‘Silver King’ offers unique color and texture all year long 

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ blooms in summer

A great selection for summer might be Weigela ‘Wine ‘N Roses.’ 

One of my personal favorite plants not often found in a garden center is Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ – bright red blooms look like firecrackers in the garden.

How about a shrub that does double-duty? Azalea ‘Autumn Twist’ is a re-blooming azalea that blooms in both the spring and the fall. Opt for plants with a long bloom season. 

Do Some Digging

On your computer that is. Research plants or color palettes you like. Find out what plants bloom in different seasons. Think about adding some annuals or containers for seasonal interest. Find out what’s trending in garden design.

Also, when imagining what you’d like your landscape to look like, consider how much time you have to care for it. You might love to plant, but don’t have the time to maintain it.  This can also be a good time to research companies to help you care for it once it’s installed.

Azalea ‘Autumn-Twist’ blooms in spring and fall

Plan Ahead

Planning is the most critical part of every landscape. Once you’ve done your research and have thought about all the seasons and creating a landscape that has interest all year long, now is the time to plan.

There’s a saying in the landscape industry: “Color Sells”. This means that garden centers will only sell plants that are in bloom. As a landscaper, I have access to all plants all year, but the average consumer doesn’t. If you want some summer or fall blooming plants, you’ll have to plan to go to your garden center during these seasons.  

Stay on Track

By planning your project early, you can get ahead of the game. Everybody comes out of the woodwork when the warm weather arrives. So, be sure your project stays on track by avoiding backorders and delivery delays. Any special order plants or garden features can be ordered ahead of time so that they’ll be sure to arrive when you’re ready to install them. 

And, while you’re at it, don’t forget about ordering outdoor kitchen appliances such as grills and refrigerators.  You’ll want everyone outside enjoying your beautiful landscape.

Monopolize Time

If you’re hiring a landscape designer during the off season, you can better monopolize their time. You’re not competing for their attention, and they may have more flexibility to meet with you. Some landscape designers may even offer you a discount as winter is their off season. 

Sandi Manna with M&M Garden Designs will talk next about How to Select Plants for Your Garden. 

Photos of plants – Courtesy of Prides Corner Farms in Connecticut