How Can I Make My Landscape Look Better in the Winter?

The crisp, white background of a fresh snowfall creates the perfect backdrop to a carefully crafted natural vista. Read on below to see a few tips about how to maintain your perfect winter wonderland.

How Can I Make My Landscape Look Better in the Winter: Evergreens Edition

Evergreens

Evergreens are crucial to maintaining the appearance of your landscape in the winter. As their name implies, they’re, well, green all the time. And while most people associate the name with just a handful of needled conifers, there are evergreen varieties of a wide array of broadleaf trees, shrubs, and perennials that keep their foliage in the winter months.

Evergreens can form the foundation of your winter foliage because of the sheer variety of plant life you can turn to. Blue Spruce, firs, pines, boxwoods, and evergreen hollies are just a few of the species you might consider.

Flowers, Perennials, and Ornamental Grasses

Witch hazel and hydrangea, are fantastic candidates for keeping your landscape looking beautiful in the winter. Witch Hazel is a perfect specimen of early season blooms while hydrangea flowers (when not pruned off) make great dried flower displays. These flowering shrubs are also important sources of nectar for late- and early-season pollinators.

Some perennials, like Stonecrop, Coral Bells, and different kinds of ferns, can really hang on throughout the winter, providing glimpses of low-to-the-ground structure and varying color. 

Ornamental grasses are also a great addition to the winter landscape because they add movement and various textures to the somewhat drab and dreary times of this season.

Bark and Berries

Select plants with interesting bark to spruce up your landscape in the dead of winter. Red-osier dogwood and the Heritage river birch are excellent choices during a Pennsylvania cold snap. 

You might also choose to plant species that produce bright-colored berries. Hawthorn trees, American cranberry bush viburnum, Crabapple trees, and Winterberry holly all create beautiful red berries each winter. The great thing about berry-producing plants is that they attract all manner of lively birds, including cardinals, goldfinches, woodpeckers, blue jays, and the white-breasted nuthatch.

Lighting

Because it gets dark early and the sun rises late, your landscape spends more hours shrouded in darkness or dim natural light in the winter than it does in the summer. While that might seem like a downside at first, you can actually make great use of that fact.

Carefully placed landscape lighting can really highlight your landscape’s best features after the sun has gone down in the evening and before it comes up in the morning. Use it intelligently, and you’ll find that your yard’s best features are especially prominent for most of the day.

The great thing about artificial lighting in the winter is that it really plays off the bright white snow. If you’re intentional about color and tone selection, you can get even more versatility out of your outdoor lighting.

Final Thoughts

We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with winter landscapes. From towering needled evergreen trees to pretty fruiting shrubs and bright, seasonal lighting, your imagination is the only limit when it comes to creating a vibrant natural scene outside of your home or business. Don’t let the cold keep you from showing off a landscape you can be proud of.