Seven Landscaping Tips for Curing the Winter Blues

winter yard - CopyFor plant and garden lovers, the cold winter months can bring on a bad case of the blues. With no lawn to manicure, and no warm, soft soil to spread or till, there’s nothing left to do but quietly stare out the window and count the days until spring, right?
Well, not exactly. Even though most of your outdoor plants are at rest and their cheery colors have gone into hiding, winter is a perfect time to plunge into landscape planning mode. So get excited and take out your notebook or sketch pad, because we haveour top winter landscaping tips for creating an outdoor environment you’re sure to love year-round.

Inspect your view. Property owners usually don’t pay that much attention to their landscape during the winter. That’s normal. But winter serves as a great opportunity to get a good look at what you have (or don’t have). So make notes of what you see, paying special attention to dead space or unremarkable shapes. Draw diagrams or a rough sketch of current beds, and what you’d like to see next winter (in terms of new colors, textures or shapes) in order to improve your off-season view.

Think berries. If you don’t have any berry-producing trees or shrubs, add them to your wish list. Berries add splashes of color during the fall and winter, and provide food for birds. Holly, in particular, provides texture and color that helps create a warm and festive atmosphere, and brightens up an otherwise lackluster area.

Consider evergreens. Sure, we know that evergreens provide color all year, but you might not know how varied those colors can be. Ranging from deep gold to calming blue, evergreens add texture and soothing pops of color while also serving as focal points year-round. Generally, each bed or landscaped section of your lawn could benefit from at least one evergreen.

What about bark? While at first glance, those deciduous trees that have lost their leaves might seem forlorn. But in wintertime, your branches and trunks can actually become an interesting focus. Ornamental trees with distinctive bark can be beautiful elements no matter the temperature or time of year. Some to consider include dogwoods and birch trees, both of which add nice texture and color.

Remember the hardscape. Don’t limit yourself to just plants as you assess your surroundings and future outdoor atmosphere. Hardscape additions, like a fire pit, trellis, bench, larger seating area or pergola could be the missing link to your ideal yard. Winter is the perfect time to identify these options and explore prices, styles and options.

 Fill up your containers. Traditional summer containers like window boxes, hanging baskets or large pots can be transformed into winter landscapes with little effort. Try filling them up with things like miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens, holly or rhododendron, adding ribbons or other decorative touches for the holidays. You can also fill containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors, adding interesting twigs or natural elements for variety.

Stock up. Keep your eye on pre- and post-holiday sales, and stock up on all those non-plant items you need for spring. Bargain shop for anything garden related, and check out your local nurseries or big-box stores for specials on close-out items. It’s also a good time to research any plants you might want to add to your landscape, and start a file for pictures, descriptions and possible landscape or hardscape plans.

If you need help when it comes to your landscape or hardscape wishes for next year, give us a call at (317) 259-9222. We can help you create the kind of outdoor space you dream about.

 What do you think?

These are just seven of our top winter landscaping tips, but we know there’s plenty more. What kind of landscape-related things do you like to do during winter? Do you have any additional tips or helpful ideas? Please tell us about them, and leave your comments below.

Eight Super Easy Holiday Landscaping Ideas

Christmas lights in the park night viewOutdoor decorating for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go overboard, like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In fact, there are lots of relatively simple – and very elegant – ways to compliment the natural beauty of your yard and create a festive mood. Here are eight of our favorite (and easy) holiday landscaping ideas:

Fill those planting pots. Take all those summer planting pots and fill them up with winter bouquets made of evergreen boughs, dried branches, ribbon and berries. Utilize any natural elements from your own yard, like pine branches or needles, pine cones, boxwoods, dried hydrangea flowers or leftover seedpods. Place larger pots alone, or cluster varied sizes together to highlight your walkway, door or patio.

Add mood lighting. Illuminate some of your existing elements in the yard by adding spotlights with colored lights. Or wrap branches or trunks with strands of lights or garland, and add waterproof tubed lighting to sidewalks, under porches, or on other structures in your outdoor space.

Don’t forget the door. Doorways are perfect canvases for holiday spirit. Purchase a couple of smaller trees (like a Frasier fir or Alberta spruce), set them in containers and cover the edges with decorative garland or pine needles. Place them on either side of the entry or front porch (and when you’re ready to take down decorations, plant your new trees in a special place in your yard). Additionally, embellish fresh, pre-made evergreen wreaths with ornaments, ribbons or natural elements like pine cones or dried flowers. Frame the doorway with garland and twinkling lights.

Highlight your mailbox. Wrap garland or tie swags of pine in layers with wire around your mailbox to set a warm or whimsical tone. Add ornaments, ribbons or other items available from your local craft store.

Take it to the next level. If you already have boxwoods, smaller potted arrangements or evergreens in your yard, add seasonal elements that can be changed from fall to winter. Pheasant or peacock feathers, gourds, corn stalks and tree branches are perfect for late fall. Switch to holly, winterberry and velvet ribbons for December. And then add glitter sprays, shiny objects or sprinkle waterproof confetti to bring in the New Year.

Dress up outdoor seating. Benches or built-in seating areas are perfect places to add clusters of holiday greenery, gazing balls, wooden signs or baskets of pine cones. Cruise the aisles of your local nursery or home improvement store to find interesting items that will add color to outdoor tables and chairs.

Switch it up. Look around your storage shelves for any interior design pieces that can be taken outdoors. Plastic fruit, for instance, can add color and warmth to outdoor bushes, trees or containers. Or maybe you have a plastic bin full of old, dried flowers that are begging for attention. Add them to some of your outdoor decorations for color and texture.

 Recycle and create new masterpieces. Take your family on a treasure hunt to a nearby Goodwill and rescue wooden signs or frames, old sleds, baskets or other decorative elements that can be embellished and used outdoors. Even a pair of worn boots or ski poles can be the foundation for unique holiday creations. Make it a family event and enjoy the process.

You don’t have to spend a fortune or blow the fuses to show your holiday spirit. But if you are ready for larger landscaping projects, or you want to give the gift of a new patio, fire pit or pergola to your loved ones for the holidays, give us a call at (317) 259-9222. We can help you with that.