Gardens aren't just for spring, summer and fall enjoyment. You can take steps to make your backyard a relaxing place even during the winter months. The following are just a few ideas to invite some natural beauty into your outdoor landscape with a few changes to the basic design.
Tip #1: Plant for Winter Interest
Few plants survive the icy chill of winter with their leaves and flowers intact, but many still add beauty in their winter forms. A few evergreen trees and shrubs can make up the basic framework for the design. Then, intersperse some plants that add form and beauty even in their dormant stage, such as the following:
Cone flowers, like echinacea and black eyed susans. These flowers leave behind thick cones of seeds that add visual interest and also provide feed for overwintering birds.
Snowberries. The small white berries on this deciduous shrub are a favorite winter treat for birds and small mammals. They persist through much of winter.
Ornamental grasses. Many ornamental grasses, such as mondo or fountain grass, don't need to be cut down until late winter. The highly-structured mounds of dry grass, and in some cases feathery seed heads, have a graceful beauty against a snowy backdrop.
Tip #2: Provide Water
Many birds overwinter in an area, including song birds. Their joyous chirping on an icy yet sunny January morning can perk you right out of the winter doldrums. Make your landscape a haven for these backyard guests by providing a mixture of food and fresh water. Bird baths are an attractive addition to the landscape, and they can provide a focal point to your design. For winter, you will need to add a bird bath heater to the device. These heaters keep the water warmed to just above freezing so the birds can access the water. If you already have water features, like ponds or fountains, consider adding a heater to these so they can provide fresh water to visiting birds and animals year-round.
Tip #3: Set out Some Seed
The bright red flash of a robin's red breast can provide a spirit-lifting spot of color to the monochrome of a snowy landscape. Add some bird feeders to your yard and keep them stocked with seed that appeals to your local feathered neighbors. Feeders can also provide visual interest beyond the birds. Choose feeders made of stone or fancy metal work, or even a feeder with a polished copper roof, to add some architectural elements to the yard.
Tip #4: Don't Forget About People
The best landscape design is one you can use. Adding a fire pit can give you a place to gather for cocoa and s'mores on a chilly afternoon. You can also add outdoor heaters to your favorite seating area. A covered patio with stone paving can feel quite warm when it reflects back the heat from an outdoor heater. Just make sure to turn them off when they are unattended.
For more information, contact Design Scapes of Manasota Inc or a similar company.