People who live in the parts of the country that have cold winters can take a page from our warm-weather friends who use their yards year-round. Just because it gets colder for part of the year, doesn’t mean we should put away the lawn furniture after Labor Day and lock the back door until spring.
There are a variety of ways you can extend the use of your yard into late fall and even winter. Many patios, decks, and outdoor living spaces have fire features, such as fire pits, chimineas, and stone or brick fireplaces, that come in all price ranges and are great focal points for outdoor entertaining in the fall and even into the winter. Add a grill or outdoor kitchen and you have a great space for fall-themed entertaining, dinner alfresco, or a s’mores and hot cocoa party. Adding pergolas, gazebos, or covered patios creates a feeling of shelter and warmth in the winter, in addition to providing shade in the summer.
Planning for a year-round landscape extends to the plants themselves. Most of us are probably guilty of choosing plants, trees, and shrubs for our yards with spring and summer in mind. If you begin to use your landscape in fall and winter, you will start to think about how you can incorporate plants and trees that add pops of color and texture in the fall and winter. It is easy to create gorgeous fall color in your yard with maple trees, birch and oak trees and Japanese maples, but it is sometimes harder to envision your landscape in winter.
One way to think about fall and winter landscapes is in terms of “bark and berries.” Add color to winter landscapes by using plants with berries like holly trees, viburnums, and beauty berries. Birds are attracted to berries, so these plants may attract winter wildlife. Trees with lighter colored or papery bark such as river birch trees, crape myrtles, dogwood trees, and Japanese maple trees add texture and interest. There are also a variety of evergreen trees that come in different shades that can add visual interest.
Using, designing for, and appreciating your yard year-round can extend your entertaining options, help you connect with nature, get you outdoors for fresh air and help you create memories with friends and family.