During the winter you can be forgiven for thinking that gardens don’t offer much interest and that, with daylight hours at a minimum, there is little point spending time on garden design until spring arrives and you can get planting in earnest. One of the best ways to keep your garden looking vibrant in winter is to have plenty of evergreen planting that adds both structure and color to your garden. When the rest of the garden is not in flower, evergreens really come into their own.
If you are thinking about adding some evergreen plants for next winter, the time to start thinking about it is now. If you need to rearrange your garden layout to accommodate them, then you’ll want to conduct any ground works sooner rather than later. Once completed, you’ll be ready to plant immediately that the weather improves and the new plants can take full advanatge of the springtime growing season. Most evergreens are hardy, but with newly planted ones they will still want to avoid hard frosts.
Pine trees are an excellent choice for an evergreen element in a garden. Relatively fast growing, pines add height, architectural structure and a pleasant verdant hue to your winter outlook. If you want to create a little privacy in you front garden, pines placed in a row will do a good job. A couple of pines, planted like columns in front of a buildings façade create a classic look. There are plenty of species to choose from, with feathery leaves or needles in a wide range of colors, from blue green to limes.
Evergreens are ideal for gardens that have a formal layout to their design. Traditional Italian formal gardens look great year round, even if there is little of interest in the beds, if the various zones are split up by evergreen box hedging. The classic look is symmetrical and has a water feature near to the center. Alternatively, twin rows of cypress trees or pines set along a driveway create a sense of formal theatricality that is hard to beat.
Don’t overlook the evergreen properties of grass. If you think that grass is just for lawns then think again. Grasses make wonderful ornamental additions to any garden, winter or summer. Plant grasses that will offer year round color to you garden. Tall standing grasses, like bamboo, that move in the wind add good interest to a winter view. Alternatively, plant them in clumps in your borders to create some definition from the lawn area.
Low Level Shrubs.
Planted at the front of your home’s façade, a few low level shrubs can create a good sense of space that can be something like an extra external room. There are plenty of shrubs that will do the job and not go on to grow and grow. Dwarf evergreens, like hebes, gorse, and japonicas don’t need a great deal of cutting back to maintain a pleasing amount of growth. Go for some cordylines as another good low level shrub because they add a touch of red as well as green all year round.
Do you have no garden space, but still want the evergreen look? The simplest way of adding some winter color to your home’s exterior is to opt for planters with some evergreen growth. Japanese maples, grasses and boxwoods will all do just fine in a planter or even a flower box as they would in the ground.
Hedging Your Bets.
Hedges give gardens structure and definition. They remain a popular choice for marking out the boundaries of your territory and creating some privacy. Mature hedges will also provide year round color that brightens your property in the winter months. Privet and boxwood make excellent choices for hedging, but also consider a less traditional plant like horsetail, which is fine so long as it is kept in containers to prevent it taking over. Hedges don’t need to be six feet high green garden walls. They also work well at transition points, between paving and lawns, for instance.