When Is The Perfect Time To Plan A Garden?
Updated: Mar 2
The perfect time to plan a garden is now. If you're like me, you long for spring. Plants may go dormant in the winter, but you don't have to. Winter is the perfect time to revisit your existing landscape and plan your new landscape. Planning your landscape is well suited for the off months. Many people end up finding their summer gardens lackluster. By planning ahead you can have a beautiful garden in every season. Here are a few tips to get you started.
The bones of your garden are more visible during winter than any other time of year.
When you look out at your landscape now, what do you see? Is there any color, any interest? Is it just bare skeletons and bare dirt? What might be out of balance and where might you add some structure, color, or even texture? Winter allows you the opportunity to see your sight lines clearly and see what sight lines are important to keep and which one might be better suited being blocked.
If you're hiring a landscape designer during the off season, you can better monopolize their time. You're not competing for their attention, and they may have more flexibility to meet with you. Some landscape designers may even offer you a discount as winter is their off season.
By planning your project early, you can get ahead of the game. Order any outdoor kitchen appliances such as grills or refrigerators early. This eliminates a lot of the stress that can come along with a renovation/upgrade.
Think In The Present
Your garden doesn't have to go dormant just because it's winter. There can still be structure, color, texture, and plenty of interest to the winter garden. Trellises, walkways, armillary spheres, as well as shrubs and trees can all add interest to the winter garden. Many shrubs such as Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus Alba species) and Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') that often go unnoticed in the summer garden really shine during the winter.
Take some time to assess how you use your property throughout the summer months. Where would you like to spend the most time in your yard? Do you enjoy entertaining?
Maybe a patio or even an outdoor kitchen might be a good option for you. Maybe your pool area could use a splash of color. If you love to plant but don't have the time to maintain, consider hiring a company to help you care for it once it's installed. This way it you can continue to enjoy it without the concerns of caring for it properly.
Do Some Digging
On your computer that is. Research plants or color palettes you like. Find out what plants bloom in different seasons. Think about adding some annuals or containers for seasonal interest. Find out what's trending in garden design.
Design with winter in mind. It's important to plan ahead for typical winter conditions
(i.e. excess water, snow, or wind) and protect your landscape from those elements. Perennials are ok in almost any area, but keep shrubs, trees and other obstacles away from areas that need to be plowed or shoveled. Cold winter winds can cause damage to evergreens. You'll want to be careful what you plant in these in areas that are subject to lots of wind.
Create Four-Season Interest
Use winter to decide where your landscape could use a little extra interest. Pay attention
to what your landscape looks like from indoors and select plants that will perk up your landscape when viewed from inside. I love Japanese Holly 'Drops of Gold' (Ilex Japonica 'Drops of Gold'). An evergreen holly with a splash of yellow, this shrub brightens up landscapes all year long. Euonymus 'Silver King' is another evergreen with variegated foliage that I enjoy in the landscape all year, but seems especially important in winter.
Planning is the most critical part of every landscape. Once you've done your research
and have thought about all the seasons and creating a landscape that has interest all year long, now is the time to plan. There's a saying in the landscape industry: “Color Sells”. This means that garden centers will only sell plants that are in bloom. As a landscaper, I have access to all plants all year, but the average consumer doesn't. If you want some summer or fall blooming plants, you'll have to plan to go to your garden center during these seasons.
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