You probably think we are crazy. A winter landscape? Really? Well, we might be a little crazy but that is beside the point! Yes, you can have a landscape that looks nice during freezing cold temperatures, ice, and snow. The following are some tips to add winter interest to your landscape.

evergreen, winter landscape

Evergreens are the framework of your winter landscape.

Evergreens, Evergreens, Evergreens!

This type of plant is the framework of your winter landscape. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide color, texture, and form even when there is six inches of snow covering the rest of your landscape. There are many different types of evergreens so we suggest mixing them to add multiple dimensions. Some great examples include Blue SpruceFirsPinesBoxwoods, and Rhododendrons. Keep a look out for unique varieties for focal points and doing mass plantings!



grasses in winter, grasses, winter landscape

Grasses provide a softer texture to the landscape.

Grasses in the Winter?!

Absolutely! Many ornamental grasses, if maintained correctly, really show off during this time of the year. Grasses provide a softer texture to the background of large evergreens or a great contrast to the brilliant white snow. Also, don’t forget that grasses add movement to the landscape as they sway ever so slightly in the winter breeze. Dwarf FountainFeather Reed, and Maiden Hair are just a few of the many types of ornamental grasses available. Check out your local nursery for what grows the best in your area or contact us for more information!


Ilex verticillata, Deciduous Holly, Winterberry Holly, Winter Landscape

This Winterberry Holly really shows off its color at the Penn State Alumni Gardens.

Showy Fruit

Trees and shrubs that produce fruit put on some of the most spectacular winter displays. Crabapples, for example, produce loads of red fruit that hold on until spring. Other plants that produce notable fruit, such as Winterberry HollyBlue HollySnowberryBeautyberry, and Viburnum are also good picks. Any bird-watchers out there? These plants are also a food source for many different kinds of birds during the winter.

Personally, I didn’t care for crabapple trees until I had one. They are beautiful in this time of the year and I really like to watch the Cardinals hopping from branch to branch.

Even more information and plant ideas can be found in the article 6 Rockin’ Red Plants for Winter Gardens found on Houzz.


Acer griseum, Bark, Paperbark Maple, Winter Landscape

This paperbark maple shows its true colors under the foliage.

Bark that Really Shows

Tree and shrub bark tends to be missed in the landscape during the warm season but when the leaves are gone this feature stands out. Textured and colored bark should be a part of every winter landscape. The bark of Paperbark Maple featured to the right is an excellent example.

Some of my other favorites include:

You can read more about these trees and others on Pennsylvania Gardener’s publication Trees With Ornamental Bark for Winter Interest 


Outdoor Lighting, CAST Lighting, Winter Landscape

Don’t forget about the lighting…it’s not just for the holidays! (Photo courtesy of CAST Lighting)

Outdoor Lighting

Lighting is another way to highlight the winter landscape. No, we aren’t talking about rope lighting, icicle lighting, or those blow up snowmen! We are talking about lighting walkways, trees, shrubs, grasses, and various structures gives you the warmth of light in a very cold time of the year. They have the added features of security and lighting the path to your front door for gatherings.

cast-logo-web-200 copyThere are many lighting systems out there so we like to promote the one that we feel offers the best product for your investment. CAST Lighting is durable, long lasting, and keeps up with the latest and greatest in landscape lighting technologies. You don’t have to take my word for it though. You can find out for yourself (And yes, if you were curious, EarthCraft does install these systems as well)!

A Wintery Conclusion

In the end, the key to a great winter landscape is strategic planning with combinations of the above items while thinking of the other seasons. Mixing various plants that do different things throughout the seasons keeps the landscape from becoming drab at any time during the year. Don’t forget that even the smallest of elements can make a big impact.