Brighten up these dreary days!

Winter in western Pennsylvania can be awfully dreary. Our lawns and landscapes – formerly lush and vibrant – are now cloaked in grays and beiges. It’s depressing! 

Fortunately, we can help add some color back into your vista. With some planning (and a little planting, too!), you can enjoy your landscape all year long.

Forever Green

Evergreen trees and shrubs make fantastic additions to the winter landscape. In the midst of winter, evergreens are a great reminder that our landscapes are still alive and well. Plus, they provide excellent habitat for birds!

Keep in mind – if you regularly host deer on your property, you’ll want to choose deer-resistant evergreens like boxwood, juniper, or spruce. ‘Green velvet’ boxwood (Buxus s. ‘green velvet’) is a popular choice for a compact, deer-proof shrub. Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’) is a creeping groundcover the deer tend to ignore. It’s a great addition to a rock garden, or to cascade over the edge of a retaining wall.

Other evergreens with softer and tastier foliage, such as rhododendron, holly, arborvitae, and pine, are excellent choices if deer are not a problem in your neighborhood.

Beautiful Bark

A shrub or tree with interesting bark can bring beauty and depth to an otherwise plain landscape. 

Consider a plant that features exfoliating bark – bark that peels off to reveal a variety of colors and textures underneath. Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) gets its name from the papery texture of its cinnamon-colored bark, and is an excellent choice if you need a tree that stays fairly small in size. If you have lots of space, we love London plane tree (Platanus x acerfolia) for its beautiful, smooth white and gray mottled appearance. 

As the name would suggest, red twig dogwoods (Cornus sericea) display bright red branches after their leaves drop. When massed together along a woodline or the edge of a field, this naturalizing shrub truly shines.

Expand your palette

If you’re looking specifically for color, the bright red berries on winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) and blue holly (Ilex x meserveae) bring a frozen landscape to life. The female shrubs produce the berries, but you’ll want to include at least one male within about 50 feet for ideal pollination.

‘Winter king’ hawthorn (Crataegus ‘Winter King’) is a fan-favorite at EarthCraft, as long as you don’t mind the thorns. This native tree has bright red berries that hold on long into the winter, and beautiful white spring flowers you can look forward to on the dreariest of days. Or, for a thornless option with bright fruit, many varieties of crabapple (Malus) cultivars are available at your local nurseries.

Foliage at its Finest

We’re all about texture! Ornamental grasses offer impactful texture, movement, and color against the snow. They add another layer of fine foliage to your landscape. Just make sure to cut them down before the new growth of grass begins to emerge in the spring.

Bring it all together

We’ve covered only a handful of options for spicing up your winter landscape. There are so many others! 

If you are dreaming of a truly beautiful winterscape, let’s spend some time planning together. Our skilled designers will build you a landscape that transitions beautifully into the winter season, and beyond.