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How To Make Your Garden Look Nice in Winter

A Plant Lover’s Guide For Colder Months

Without the flowers of spring, the bright greens of summer, or the brilliant oranges of autumn, what is there to look at in your garden? Without careful thought and planning, most backyards end up drab and boring when winter hits.

A few small changes and clever winter landscaping ideas can take your yard from lifeless to vibrant.

Wondering how to make your garden less dull in winter? Use these tips for making your garden a winter wonderland!

Plant Needled Evergreens

If winter leaves you craving the deep greens of your summer garden, consider planting a few needled evergreen trees. Evergreen trees retain their leaves all year long, meaning you won’t have bare branches to contend with!

Your needled evergreen options include:

  • Weeping Alaska-cedar
  • Green-thread or gold-thread false cypress
  • Hinoki cypress
  • Oriental spruce
  • Japanese umbrella pine
  • Eastern red cedar

Choose a species that fits with your existing backyard design. For example, a tall and wispy tree will look perfect surrounded by delicate flowers in spring.

Distinctive Twigs Make the Difference

When the leaves and flowers have left, it’s time for the branches to shine. Look for shrubs and trees with distinctive twigs to make a difference in your winter backyard design.

Tatarian Dogwood

Sporting bold, colourful stems, the Tartarian Dogwood is a striking addition to any winter garden. Different variations provide their own vibrancy. You can get shiny purple-black twigs from the Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’ variant or bright coral stems from the Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ variant.

Bloogtwig Dogwood

The Bloodtwig Dogwood brings the warm colours of autumn into your beautiful winter garden. Also known as ‘midwinter fire’ and ‘winter orange’, these shrubs burst into shades of coral, orange, red, and gold in the wintertime. They work well when massed in shrub borders or as a natural privacy screen.

Golden Willow

With its colourful new stems, the Golden Willow is the perfect way to bring bold colour to your yard. This breath-taking tree’s new stems are a bright golden-yellow that seems to glow in the winter light.

Have Plants With Berries

Instead of flowers, you can use berries to bring a pop of colour into your yard. Look for plants that grow sweet fruits in winter too. Here are some winter-friendly options:


The Winterberry plant produces bright red berries throughout winter into spring. These plants are famously used in Christmas decor and have a distinctive leaf shape.

Make sure to get a male plant and a female plant. Winterberries are dioecious, which means that the female plant can only produce eye-catching round berries if it is pollinated.

Linden Viburnum

Linden Viburnum plants produce bright red berries that are slightly oval in shape. Keep in mind that these shrubs are invasive and should not be planted in certain states.

Purple Beautyberry

If you’re looking for a smaller berry-bearing plant, the Purple Beautyberry is a great option for your yard. With stunning lilac-violet berries, it’s easy to see why this plant is called a beautyberry!

Exfoliating Bark For Exhilarating Spark

When you’re not playing with colour, why not experiment with texture? The bark of certain trees comes off in multi-hued flakes that add character and depth to your garden. Even without a leaf in sight, your yard can come alive with exfoliating bark.

Coral Bark Maple

The Coral Bark Maple is a showstopper year-round. During spring, summer, and autumn, the tree has regular-coloured bark while the leaves change from lime green to dark green to golden yellow. As the leaves begin to drop in preparation for winter, the bark turns a stunning reddish pink!

Chinese Red Birch

The Chinese Red Birch displays gorgeous horizontal stripes as older bark peels off to make space for new. The mixture of copper-pink and cinnamon-brown bark gives your yard a pop of textured colour throughout the winter.

Persian Ironwood

Persian Ironwoods are small trees, reaching a maximum height of 11 m (35 ft). The bark exfoliates to reveal shapes of green, tan, and white.

Tibetan Cherry

With its mahogany-coloured bark, the Tibetan Cherry tree is the perfect plant to warm up your garden in winter. The decorative bark is shiny and smooth, giving the tree a mirror-like appearance.

Add Texture With Ornamental Grass

It’s difficult to make a dead lawn look good. Opt for ornamental grass instead of regular grass to ensure year-round coverage and low-maintenance landscaping. Ornamental grasses are renowned for hardiness, ease of care, and a variety of gorgeous textures to choose from.

Our favourite ornamental grasses include:

  • Reed Grass for its feathery grain heads
  • Blue Fescue for its icy blue foliage and baby-yellow flowers
  • Blue Lilly Turf for its firework foliage and long purple flowers
  • Chinese Silver Grass for its breezy elegance

With the right type of ornamental grass, your winter landscaping will retain all of its texture and interest as the seasons change.

Read More: Plants And Flowers That Can Withstand Canadian Winters

Winter Bloom Flowers

Nothing brings life to a garden like a flower in bloom. Plant some winter-blooming flowers in your garden and enjoy vibrant colours all year long!


Known as the ‘queen of the night’, this cactus brings large vanilla-scented flowers to your winter garden. The flowers sport layers of petals: thin yellow petals surround a centre of wispy white.


The Luteus plant is called the ‘wintersweet’, and it’s easy to see why. The delicate flowers have translucent yellow petals that create enchantment in every garden.

Cornelian Cherry

The Cornelian Cherry blooms in late winter, introducing new colours into your winter garden design. The yellow flowers are delicate and small.

Persian Violet

The bushy Persian Violet sports violet-blue or white star-shaped flowers. Planting these flowers in your garden is almost the same as scattering stars throughout your backyard.


Known for its luminous inflorescences, the Paperbush puts on a show in the last few weeks of winter. Starting as silvery flower buds, the inflorescences burst open to reveal groups of white and yellow flowers.

Winter Jasmine

The yellow flowers of the Winter Jasmine have small, neat petals that give you a feeling of cheer. Winter Jasmine has a divine cinnamon scent that is sure to make your garden everyone’s favourite hangout spot – even in winter!

Algerian Iris

If you want something that blooms all through winter, the Algerian Iris is the plant for you. Blooming from late autumn to early spring, this plant sports stunning blue-purple flowers with eye-catching yellow and white details.

Use Lighting

When dressing up your winter garden, highlight the good parts! Use lighting to draw the eye towards water features (such as fountains, ponds, etc.) or architectural features (such as arches or pergolas).

Use uplighting to call attention to tall trees and walkways. Dress up a foliage-free tree with delicate fairy lighting. Get creative with your lighting options and enjoy the benefits of a well-lit garden!


Use furniture to introduce even more colour, interest, and functionality to your garden. Whether you’re dealing with a few square meters of space or several acres of land, the clever use of furniture distracts the eye from bare branches and empty patches in your flower beds.


Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your time outside! Bring in colourful and comfortable seating to liven up a dreary backyard. You can liven up old outdoor furniture with a fresh coat of paint or new outdoor cushions.


Dress up your plants with decorative pots. Play around with different colours, textures, patterns, shapes and sizes for variety and design depth. These DIY indoor plant pots are great to draw inspiration from if you feel like getting crafty.


Sculptures are the cherry on top of good landscaping. Place a birdbath in the middle of a flowerbed to act as a centrepiece, or hide ceramic animals throughout your yard. Sculptures add texture and personality to your garden in the dead of winter and the height of summer.

Winter Landscaping Ideas: Design The Dream With Professionals

Designing a beautiful winter garden is easy when you have the right knowledge and tools. By incorporating colourful plants and intentional landscaping, you can create the winter garden of your dreams. And with all of our incredible backyard packages to choose from, designing the dream has never been so easy!

Do you need a garden upgrade in preparation for winter? Are you building your backyard from scratch and don’t know where to start? Contact us today to bring your winter landscaping ideas to life.

By | 2022-05-11T14:36:24-05:00 January 6th, 2022|Blog, Landscape Design|