Plan Ahead to Enjoy a Colorful Landscape this Winter

Posted September 3, 2015 in Blog, General, Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Plant and Tree

No one ever really wants to think about cold weather circling back to greet us in the fall and winter.  We especially don’t ever want to think about breaking out the rock salt and shovels!  Everything seems so drab and lackluster in the cold months, but with a little bit of late summer/early fall planning, your backyard can still impress when your world is blanketed in snow.  Talking to your landscape designer is a great way to plan and plant landscaping strategically to allow for beautifully rich colors to shine through right when you need it.  So before you break out the snow shovel, let’s put our landscaping tools to use one more time before the end of the season! Here are a few suggestions on some vibrant plantings to help you make it through the cold spell.

Witch Hazel, Hamamelis Virginiana

This late fall, early winter flowering deciduous shrub is a great addition to your landscaping for its color and fragrance.  The witch hazel flowers are unique in their own right; they are rich in color and have a spider-like bloom.  The leaves turn into a brilliant yellow, just as the yellow flowers begin to bloom.  This small tree or big shrub, depending on how you look at it, transitions independently yet harmoniously.  The fragrance is distinct and piercing, almost comparable to what a lemon zest smells like.  Combine this scent with the cool and crisp air, and you have yourself an invigorating sensory cocktail to help you through the chill.

Purple Beautyberry, Callicarpa Dichotoma

 This deciduous flowering shrub grows up to four feet tall, with a slightly greater spread.  The faint pink-purple summer flowers mature into the tightly clustered bright purple berries in thebeautyberry autumn.  While the leaves turn to yellow and fall to the ground, the berries can last well into the winter.  A brilliant purple berry is hard to underestimate in a sea of fresh white powder.  Not only is this shrub beautiful, it stands as a food source for the wild birds and other critters.  Typically the wildlife noshes on this shrub as a last resort, sort of like an emergency meal.  The berry has a bittersweet taste, so until the other food options are exhausted, you can enjoy this colorful landscape addition, uninterrupted.

Green Velvet Boxwood, Buxus

winter boxwoodThe Green Velvet Boxwood has a natural compact rounded shape with no need for pruning, unless you plan to plant them as a defined hedge.  This evergreen has a special hidden feature…it is pest resistant!  Even the hungriest of winter critters will leave this shrub alone because it contains a natural toxic alkaloid.  Strategically planting this shrub in your line of sight outside of your windows provides you with a rich green view, all year long.  The snow laying on top of this shrub gives a wonderful contrast of color, and will remind you that spring will eventually be around the corner.

Redtwig Dogwood, Cornus Stolonifera

This deciduous shrub is on the smaller-scale of the Cornus family, reaching maturity at about three to four feet in height.  The dark green foliage and white summer blooms give way to fascinating and bold dark red stems in the winter months.  The stems of this shrub are perfect for gazing at during the winter, or you could even trim them and use them in your winter arrangements.  This shrub is very adaptable to different light conditions and soils, and can also survive temperatures as low as -50°!  This is a winter no-brainer!

Winterberry, Ilex Verticillata

The winterberry is a deciduous shrub that can grow six to fifteen feet high, and often just as wide, so it is suggested to plant this shrub where it will have ample room to be itself.  Through maturity, the dark brown stems develop an aesthetic gray sheen.  When the leaves turn to yellow in the autumn and fall to the ground, the winter wonder begins.  This shrub’s bright red berries thrive well into the winter, becoming food for the wildlife.  This colorful and dependable food source easily makes its way on the list of our winter favorites for your landscape.

Fall and winter are inevitable, so why not adapt and try to keep the winter blues at bay?  Having cold weather hardy plants in your landscape is one little way to keep your spirits up in an otherwise drab time of the year.  MasterPLAN Landscape Design can help with your cold weather landscaping solutions, and design a custom plan that is perfect, just for you!  Serving the Poconos, the Lehigh Valley and throughout the Philadelphia areas, we are ready to help you with all of your design and build needs.  Reach out to us today!

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