Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Topics for the Yard - Winter Interest

Now that fall is behind us and the leaves are on the ground, we get to look forward to winter in the treasure Valley. This is the time of year that you will realize what type of yard you have. For the next 4-5 months you will be looking at nothing but twigs if you have not planned for winter interest. Good winter interest provides a variety of colors and textures during this time. It can also help frame your outdoor room and provide focal points to add holiday lights.

Plants are the most common way to achieve winter interest, but we are going to focus on a few other options. Some of the most popular elements in the landscape today are maintenance free. You will never have to water them, they will never die and they will add year round interest to the surrounding landscape. Now that I have your attention I would like to open your eyes to using landscape boulders, walls and Garden art to complement the surrounding plants and add year round interest.

Landscape Boulders add instant impact to the yard, when installed properly. Boulders can be installed in a natural setting or they can be installed using upright columns to make more or an artistic statement. The main key is to bury 1/3-1/4 of the boulder. For the boulders to look authentic and to be safely installed they need to be buried in the ground and have a stable anchored look. Lichen covered boulders tend to blend in with bark and rock mulch and they add a tremendous amount detail and texture. Table Rock sandstone boulders will pop out against bark and rock mulch, and when you get up close, they have a smooth texture.

Landscape walls and decorative fences help to create outdoor rooms and focal points, but they also add winter interest. Seatwalls can add a different feel or texture depending upon the materials used. Natural dry stack stone will give you a more naturalistic/gardenesque look while a cultured stone wall with wrought iron accents will give you a more formal/classical look. These walls will not only give you winter interest, they set the ambiance for the outdoor room in all seasons.

Garden art is an often overlooked landscape element. Garden art can be whimsical, classical or modern. The art work can be the center piece for which the outdoor room is built around or is can be tucked just around the corner, waiting to be discovered. Garden art is an extension of your personality. What would you like to say?

Broadleaf evergreen shrubs, groundcovers and perennials are the best way to ensure winter interest and avoid a dry look. There are several different varieties available, and they come in different sizes, colors & textures. These plants all have their own unique microclimate requirements, so it is best to contact us or your local nursery to discuss a specific plant. Some favorite broadleaf evergreens are Otto Luyken's English Laurel, Fraser's Red Tip Photinia, Wine Vinca Minor, Bressingham Ruby Bergenia and Evergreen Candytuft, just to name a few.

Winter Interest can be accomplished in several different ways. It's time to say good bye to the 70's and the overgrown junipers and to do something truly creative - contact us and we can show you how!

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