For most of us home gardeners, at least the ones living in cold areas, the long winter season can be quite bleak. It is the time when the garden color fades. But it does not have to be that way!
Winter is the perfect time to plan your garden! With a little planning, you can design a garden that maintains its color and vigor all year round. Hardscape and plants can be successfully installed during the winter months.
Here are some tips to help you develop a colorful four-season landscape at your home:
|What is a Four-Season Landscape?
A four-season landscape is just what its name suggests – a garden that continues to bloom and offer color and interest all year round.
Grow a Variety of Plants
The key to creating a landscape design that continues to provide color and interest throughout the year is to choose the proper variety of plants. A good four-season garden should have a combination of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees with different blooming seasons. Consider selecting plants that are known as ‘four-season’ plants of interest and including plants with long blooming seasons to keep your garden colorful all year long.
Consider the Qualities of Your Garden When Choosing Plants
To have a healthy, happy, and colorful landscape, it is necessary that your garden can meet the requirements of the plants you plan to grow. Some of the important things you should consider include: the quality of soil; the amount of sunlight your garden receives; the moisture of the area(s); and the presence of animals that can damage your plants. Deer, rabbits, and rodents are common threats to your garden. If you have any of these animals coming to your garden, make sure to choose plants that are resistant to them or install protective fencing that can keep those animals away.
The best plants to choose for your four-season garden are plants that can have all their specific growing requirements met. They will be very happy and provide your garden with gorgeous color.
Visit Public Gardens for Ideas
If you are struggling to conceptualize your four-season landscape, public gardens are great places to get ideas. Visit local parks or gardens to see what plants they have used and to get some design inspirations.
You can also look around and see if someone in your neighborhood has a four-season garden. Talk to them and visit their garden to get ideas and information.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Developing a Four-Season Landscape
Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when planning a four-season landscape to make this project a success:
How frequently do the plants you are choosing need to be watered and are the plants sun or shade-loving?
The beauty of having a winter garden is that it does not require a lot of water. Newly installed winter interest plants typically only need to be watered three to four times in a 2-week period. During that time, follow the watering ‘Rule of Thumb’ for newly installed winter interest plants. A one-gallon plant gets one-gallon of water and a five-gallon plant gets five gallons of water when installed in the winter. Proper watering is essential for keeping plants healthy and thriving in winter and in other seasons.
When buying or growing plants, make sure you understand their water and sun requirements; select plants that will be successful in the environment.
What else, in addition to plants, do you need to consider when creating a beautiful garden?
Hardscaping is an integral component to consider when defining and planning the overall look, feel, and appeal of a four-season garden. Think about how you want to use and interact with your garden. Install an inviting walkway through your garden and enjoy the sights, sounds and fragrances; a water feature or fountain will provide that artistic accent for your unique space. Desire some privacy? Install a green fence with plants or a traditional fence. Do you enjoy eating while admiring your garden? Consider adding a patio with a seating area and a grilling area or cooking station. Well-designed hardscaping will enhance the beauty and functionality of your garden. There are solutions for all size spaces!
These are some simple but useful tips for creating a four-season landscape at your home. Start planning now and be ready to enjoy your garden this spring! We would love to hear about your garden! Share your feedback with us.
If you live in Alexandria, Virginia, and need any help in planning, designing, choosing plants and/or hardscaping, for your four-season garden, contact us for professional landscaping advice and service!