Thursday, February 28, 2013
Suburban News

Though your garden lies dormant in the winter, it does not follow that it must be dull or unattractive. If planned correctly, your landscape can be animated with color and beauty in the heat of the summer or while covered in a blanket of snow in the winter.

The secret is in the planning. Luckily, the winter is the perfect time to plan. The dormant garden provides a bare bones view of the landscape. It leaves space for the imagination and shows a true special setting of your plantings. For homeowners trying to change their plan in the summer, it is harder to see a true picture of where plants, roots, and branches start and end.

Don’t forget the seasonal rules of supply and demand of landscapers. When there’s a generous supply of sunshine and warm temperatures, you’re landscaper will be in high demand. Instead of fighting for their attention in the spring along with the rest of the neighborhood, request their expertise early when they are more likely to have the time to attend to your detailed desires.

For the most part, winter interest is created with hard materials such as a wall, steps, fence, bench, fire pit, pergola or even an outdoor kitchen. The arrangement of these elements can create attractive and welcoming focal points all year long.

A well-planned space takes into account the needs and whimsies of the homeowner and can greatly enhance one’s lifestyle at relatively little expense. In each case, carefully designing these spaces offers the emotional escape needed from a hectic day in the spring, summer or fall, and a focal point of visual interest in the winter.

Plan for all four seasons from the start. When the spring arrives and colors begin to appear, homeowners are so eager to leave the cold behind, it’s easy to get carried away planting with spring or summer color and overlook the appearance of the garden in the other seasons.

Assess your current plantings and their bloom time and whether they have seasonal fall or winter interest as well. A good plan will take into consideration how the garden will appear in all four seasons.

Consider using plants that keep their green all year long. Evergreens such as Douglas Fir or Arborvitae can be the backbone of color in a landscape all year long. Blooming shrubs such as Hydrangeas, Roses, and Butterfly bushes will bring color in the spring and summer. Oak and Maple trees can provide luminous foliage in the fall. Plants such as Virginia Sweetspire and Red-Twig Dogwood turn a radiant red in the late Fall to bring color even in the winter.

Homeowners may also want to set aside areas of their gardens devoted to seasonal plantings that can be changed and re-planted to showcase bulbs in the spring, impatiens in the summer, and mums and cabbage in the fall.

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