My Journal

Tips for winter garden design

Tips for winter garden design, an article from Katie Rushworth

It’s tempting to draw the proverbial curtains on your garden over the winter, and any outdoor space can easily become a bit of a dumping ground. Tatty, carpeted in dried leaves, stacked with empty pots – a winter garden might hardly be a feast for the eyes!

I’m a firm believer that any garden can look beautiful all year round, with a bit of tender care and savvy planting. Winter can bring us structure and magic in the garden, as bare branches take the place of verdant leaves, and surfaces glisten with twinkling frost. Here are my tips for making the most of your garden in the winter.

Clean up your garden

Before it gets unbearably cold, it’s always a good idea to give your garden a thorough clean and tidy. The autumn is a good time to do this, but winter is alright too. Trim and deadhead, rake up fallen leaves, tidy up empty pots and containers and store them away so they don’t crack in a freeze. Give your greenhouse, shed or outbuilding a spruce up too so that it’s in good shape for spring (you’ll thank yourself later).

Read some more tips on preparing your garden for winter here.

Using lighting 

Chances are, through the winter months you’ll enjoy your garden from the inside of your home – out of a window, back door or conservatory. Bringing a cosy lighting scheme to your garden will make such a difference to the long, dark winter evenings.

Solar-powered lights are a great choice as they don’t require a mains connection. String versions can be easily draped around bare branches or along a fence. There are also solar lights available that can be affixed to a wall using screws or staked into the ground, which look lovely along a path or driveway. For a contemporary look, choose solar lights that are all one colour and have a continuous light setting – but if you’d rather choose a more festive look you can play with different colours and settings.

If you choose to entertain in your garden over the winter months, a firepit, chiminea or another source of warmth is a must. You can also use candles in pretty holders, and cushions and blankets in a matching colour scheme to the inside of your house – staying warm is a must!

Evergreens for the winter garden

Your winter garden needn’t be grey and bleak – evergreens really come into their own this time of year. Larger shrubs and trees can bring a sense of structure and definition amongst all the bare branches. Smaller evergreens in containers can be used to draw the eye where you want it – and they’re perfect for smaller gardens too. Many evergreen types will treat you to a display of flowers in the spring and summer, and many have winter berries that are a valuable source of food for birds and small animals.

Trees for the garden in winter

Deciduous trees lose their leaves through the late autumn and early winter, which makes me feel a bit wistful each and every year! However, the fallen leaves make brilliant leaf mould or compost and there are some types of trees that look just as stunning without their leaves. For winter interest, choose trees that have beautiful bark, such as papery white silver birch or deep copper Tibetan cherry. The shrub cornus has stunning, bright red branches that bring a pop of festive colour to your garden in winter.

Next, all there is for you to do is enjoy the cosy feel of your garden! Katie x

Further winter reading:

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