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Great Gardens Blog

Landscape Design: Benefiting From the Winter Season

Welcome to Winter… 

Apart from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season, thoughts of the long winter months for most of us conjures up visions of white-knuckle driving on the roads and hunkering down at home in front of the TV or, in my case, the TV and the fireplace.
I hope that by now, however, you and I are able to get outside and enjoy some of the “not-so-bad” warmer days for some fun winter activities or to delight in the panoramic winter views of the Red Wing area’s river bluffs.

From a landscape designer’s standpoint the cold winter months are actually more beneficial than may first meet the eye… 

Most people think of the beauty that the landscape creates as belonging to the warmer months. That colorful beauty is not usually on the mind in say…December or January. However, as a designer here at Sargent’s Nursery, I look at the winter months with an eye for opportunity. If one is paying attention, the winter can tell you a lot about your landscaping, yard and gardens.  Professional landscape designers look at a yard on a year-around basis when it comes to design. Each season has something to offer! I tell my clients that they enjoy the inside of their home all year long. Why not your yard?!

Leaving Hydrangeas and grasses to collect snow offers variety and movement to an otherwise still winter landscape.

Leaving Hydrangeas and grasses to collect snow offers variety and movement to an otherwise still winter landscape.

The landscape in the winter can be vibrant with color, depth, form, texture and shadows. Peek out the window­‑-or better yet–stand in the street and look at your landscaping on a nice winter day. What do you see? Are you thinking of designing a new landscape? Maybe renovating an old one? You should consider including some design attributes that carry on into the winter as well!

Snow covered stone creates layered texture.

Snow covered stone creates layered texture.

Take, for instance, the distinct three-dimensional effect of the horizontal branching of a thorn-less Hawthorn Tree. The natural appearance of an ornamental grass, left uncut for the winter, creates an amazing effect in the snow. Consider some outcropping boulders with snow lined crevices and shadows from angled winter sunlight. How about the deep red blaze from the Artic Fire Dogwood that stands out against grey winter skies, or better yet, against a backdrop of deep green evergreens such as Arborvitae or of Black Hills Spruce? The striking contrast of the Red Sprite Winterberry against the white snow or the blue of a Colorado Blue Spruce. These are just a taste of possibilities! The color and interest palette do not need to be bland in winter! 

Bright pops of color add interest to a stark winter landscape.

Bright pops of color add interest to a stark winter landscape.

Winter is also a great time to look at the mechanics and function of the landscape as well. Where do you pile snow in the winter and how will it affect the plants underneath? Do you have drifting snow in an unfavorable spot?  A tree-lined windscreen or a wood fence section will correct it.

A windscreen of pines provides form and function to the landscape.

A windscreen of pines provides form and function to the landscape.

What do you see when the leaves are off the trees? Consider the neighbor’s ’68 Buick that he is going to “fix-up” someday. A screen of evergreens will take care of that view all season long.
Where does the water go when the snow melts? I am a believer in that adage that
form follows function. At Sargent’s Nursery – Red Wing, we surely consider the mechanics of your property, but with the thought that you should enjoy your landscaping all year long.

You know what your yard looks like in the middle of July, so maybe take a stroll around the property in the snow and take note of what you can change or add to this upcoming season.
Give us a call. We would be glad to assist you with the possibilities.
 

John Hulburt
Certified Landscape Professional  

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