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By Christine Gracey

With the green grass and the colourful leaves and flowers of the summer just a distant memory, it is a good time to take a hard look at your garden and see how you can add some winter interest to increase your enjoyment of your outdoor space at this time of year. There are many ways to add interest.

  • Do you have both deciduous and coniferous trees throughout your yard? Choose deciduous trees that have interesting bark such as birch trees or an interesting shape; perhaps a Pyramidal Beech or a Corkscrew Willow.  Coniferous trees can also have very interesting shapes, and differing colours and needle textures. They will also provide a refuge for winter birds.
  • Speaking of birds, do you have bird feeders and birdhouses that will attract feathered friends. If so, you will have a constant and entertaining parade of visitors that add interest and movement to your yard. A source of unfrozen water will make your space even more attractive to birds. We also have bunnies visiting the base of our feeder, eating up some of the spilled seed. They are always fun to watch.
  • Can you actually see your garden areas through the snow? You should be able to see the framework of your garden with the shrubs. The deep green of the evergreens, coloured bark and berries, the still showy hydrangea flower heads and the plumes of ornamental grasses swaying in the wind will all add to the beauty and interest of your garden.
  • It doesn’t have to be plant material that adds interest to your garden. Sculpture and garden art can look lovely against a backdrop of snow and ice. Whether it would be something freestanding or placed against a feature wall or fence, ironwork or wood, architectural selvedge or modern art; all add to the view and provide visual interest.
  • Urns and planters can be a great way to add to your outdoor space. I do mine in early December, making them appropriate for Christmas, but also make sure that I can take out any specific Christmas decorations in January, and have them look great for the balance of the winter. A pop of colour can be added through the use of ribbons, twigs, leaves or other decorative elements.
  • Flags can add colour and movement as well. You can be patriotic with your national flag, or celebrate your town or some other group that has personal meaning. Hang one from a flagpole or a standard off a porch post, or even a fence post.
  • Landscape lighting is another wonderful way to add excitement to your garden and yard. Select a few interesting trees or focal points to light up. Use a white light or get funky with coloured bulbs.

There are lots of options to add to interest to your garden, even during our harsh winter months. Get creative and have fun!