It’s becoming that time again. That time when the snow is glistening in the lane, gone away are the bluebirds, and the snowmen are soon to be all over the meadow. Winter wonderland is on its way.
Or maybe not.
Contrary to the movies, and the pictures, and the songs about snowy meadows and romantic, icy gardens, when most of us look at our own gardens in the winter, we see snowy blobs and dead, brown plants. It’s not exactly a picture-perfect winter wonderland. Before you resign yourself to another snowed in garden with nothing to offer, however, your Omaha landscapers are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way! It’s possible to create a landscaping design to make your garden stunning even during the Omaha winter. Read on for our landscapers’ tips on creating your own winter wonderland garden.
Characteristics for Visual Landscaping Interest
Before doing any landscaping, it’s important to understand the characteristics that will make your garden appealing and interesting even when covered in snow. To avoid the shapeless mounds of dead undergrowth, you want to add plants that will bring both color and form to your garden. Think plants that will catch the snow or create gentle silhouettes, have (or will create) interesting textures and patterns, and will add eye-catching pops of color. The exciting part is there is a surprisingly vast array of plants that can add these elements to your winter garden, even beyond the classic conifers and evergreens (though they are always a solid building block for the winter landscape design).
Form and Silhouettes
If you’ve ever looked at a classic winter painting or scene, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that trees with slim branches outlined in snow are always a focal point. People are drawn to the simple and delicate beauty and silhouettes of snow-lined branches. When creating a winter landscaping design for the Omaha winter, be on the lookout for trees and shrubs that will have the type of branches that will catch the snow in interesting and beautiful ways.
Also important to adding interest, is having your forms continue down from your trees; no one wants to see a garden that is only pretty up at the top. Consider including different height shrubs and ornamental grasses to give your landscaping design interest from top to bottom. Shrubs and grasses have similar thin twigs and stalks to catch the snow as well as nice variations in height and textures. Some great shrubs and grasses to consider are:
- Red Osier Dogwood, distinctive for its deep red twigs in winter that are great for catching snow
- Plume grass, an extremely tall ornamental grass with fluffy ends
- Northern Sea Oats, deer-resistant and great for visual interest in cold temperatures
- Blue Fescue, known for a blue foliage resembling a pincushion
Textures and Patterns
Another element of a great Omaha winter landscaping, is adding plants that will add interesting textures or patterns to your snowy garden. Trees and shrubs with textured, peeling, or curling barks are a great addition as they create both color and texture in the snow. Some trees with exfoliating bark are:
- Paperbark Maple, covered in paper-thin sheets of reddish/brown bark that curl off the tree
- Climbing Hydrangea, can be grown as a vine or shrub and known for white clusters of flowers
- Fox Valley® River Birch, known for attractive cinnamon-colored peeling bark
Pops of Color
The last thing to consider when planning your landscape design is adding pops of color. With all the grey and white of snow, a few bursts of red, green, yellow, or blue will go a long way in drawing your eyes and creating a beautiful garden tableau. Color can be brought into your garden with winter berries, interestingly colored branches or bark, or late-flowering shrubs. Plants already mentioned, like the Red Osier Dogwood or Blue Fescue, are great for bringing both form and color into your garden. Other plants to consider:
- Winterberry, its distinctively heavily-laden branches of red/orange berries are a staple of indoor and outdoor decorating
- Blue Holly, the ever-classic deep green holly leaves with bright red berries
- Witch Hazel, a shrub with delicate yellow to red flowers that bloom all through winter
An important note before buying all the tall grasses, trees, and winter shrubs in sight, is to make sure any plants intended for your winter garden are meant for Zone 5 growth. An Omaha landscaper can help you pick the right mixture of hardy and interesting plants to turn your winter garden from blah to wonderland.