It’s easy for our summer gardens to always look their best with so many options for different colours and varieties to be in bloom. However, as summer blooms fade, a poorly planned garden is often left looking flat and barren when the winter weather rolls in. A great garden plan aims for interest in all seasons whether that be with colour, texture or unique structure. In order to achieve a balanced 4 season garden, you must also consider winter and fall, not just the summer months when it is easy to add colour and life to your garden. Incorporating a blend of materials will provide life to your garden in the off season, giving you curb appeal all year long. Check out our planning tips and plant recommendations to keep your garden looking its best from spring all the way to winter:
Planning Your Garden Beds
1. Make Sure Your Beds Are Wide Enough
The first step to creating a four season garden plan is to make sure you have a big enough bed to accommodate it. The size of your garden should be proportional to the size of your house. Oftentimes people are concerned that larger beds means more maintenance. However, with proper planning and grouping of plant material, you will set yourself up for easier maintenance in the long term. A wide bed provides the space for larger groupings and varieties of plants giving you the opportunity to have more seasons of interest.
2. Create a Good Base
Once you have the width of your bed established you can start blocking out where the base of your beds will go. This is typically done with trees and shrubs. It is good to have a mix of evergreen and deciduous materials. When one species loses its foliage the other will remain as the prominent plant in your winter landscape. Selecting trees that have an interesting structure will provide a sculptural element to your landscape when the trees lose their leaves in the winter months.
3. Layer Your Plant Material
Creating a layered garden allows plants that are in bloom to shine. Incorporating a variety of heights adds interest and depth to your landscape. Creating a solid base of trees and shrubs at the back of your garden means smaller perennials in front are not overtaken. This also makes maintenance much easier by having less tedious materials (shrubs and trees ) at the back while materials that need more care (perennials) are at the front where they are easy to reach.
4. Creating a Bloom Plan
Once you are ready to pick your plant varieties, it is a good idea to create a plan. Do your research! This will ensure you that you are selecting the right plants for your hardiness zone as well making sure that you will have interest in all seasons. Remember, the goal is to have something that is constantly in bloom or showy to ensure there are no “bland” seasons in your garden. Enlisting the help of a designer can make this daunting task a smooth process.
5. Consider Texture and Structure
Color is not the only thing you want to look for when planning a four season garden. There are other ways to create interest in the garden especially in seasons where colour is hard to come by. Plants with different textures will give your garden depth. Try mixing in plants with a textured leaf or add some evergreens for instant character. Structure is another great resource for winter interest. Most plants look great with their leaves on. Look for materials that have a unique branch structure to add interest to your landscape when all the leaves have fallen.
With so many options to choose from, creating a garden that can shine in any season may seem like an overwhelming task. Why not reach out to our team? Our group of professionals are experts at selecting plant materials perfectly suited to your space. Get started today >>>