Designing a backyard for pleasure necessitates consideration of blossoms’ colors and textures from season to season. “The tradition at older school gardening has been to perform a late fall clearing, but now people are recognizing that in case you choose well, the garden seems great through winter months, so that they wait and do a late winter cleanup,” he says.
Take a walk through the neighborhood, a park or a nature preserve near your home with a notebook and camera. Take note of plants whose seedpods, stems or winter foliage look picturesque. Take photos to help you identify unknown plants. If you can’t figure out what they are online or in a good garden identification book (see Resources), a local garden center can likely help you identify unknown species. Or check out the Leafsnap mobile app, developed by researchers at the University of Maryland, Columbia University and the Smithsonian Institute, which identifies plants in photos you take.
Carroll says there are a few important qualities–color, rhythm, texture and plant combination–one should consider in any garden design. “If you want a garden that looks great in winter, then consider the very same attributes for your sake they supply in winter,” Carroll says. He puts plants into three categories when considering winter garden design: 1) The fruit and seed group, with colorful fruit, a large quantity of seeds or interesting dry seedpods; 2) the stem and bark group, with sculptural or colorful stems and interesting textures; and 3) the leaf and flower group, with cold weather foliage or blooms. Yet he says, though some plants do look especially beautiful in winter, your best tool for winter garden planning is simple observation. “Sometimes you will find interesting surprises–things that you did not understand would look great in the winter landscape but really do,” Carroll says. “One instance is that the hardy hibiscus. People think of it but it is a plant that is native. If its seedpods allow seeds move in the fall and open up, it leaves fur inside to capsules. It is wonderful how they catch. It is amazing, but it. There are always special openings, and these are the things that you need to consider and plant more of for another winter.”
After you’ve identified plants that offer interesting color, shape and texture, consider pattern, quantity and repetition in your plantings. “Sometimes you need to bulk up the amount so that you truly earn a series,” Carroll says. Though the amount of winter-interest plants may look sufficient amid the bounty of summer, they could still look scant when the foliage and blooms die down in winter. “If you plant something which offers stem attention–a redstem dogwood, for example–plant three rather than one. A bigger group has a larger impact as you are condensing the colour, which makes it bigger and more noticeable,” Carroll says.