As the dark nights draw in closer and the UK climate begins to turn, one of the last things on many homeowner’s minds is bringing a new dimension to their outdoor area.
But spring, summer, and autumn aren’t the only seasons that offer a chance to spruce up your garden. The reality is, winter months can facilitate just as exciting a space as any other – with plenty of colours, scents, and structures available to rival April’s pastel hues, August’s outdoor living delights, and the fiery burnt oranges of October.
Whether you’re looking to ramp up your property’s appeal before putting it on the market, or simply want to create a space that you’re proud to come home to, Holmfirth estate agent Applegate Properties has some top tips for you to explore.
So, let’s dive straight in…
Not only will the cold temperatures reduce motivation to prune and clip your plants, but many seasonal additions won’t survive the winter weather either. That’s why it’s important to research which can be saved from frost, and get started on maintenance before it’s too late.
If anything already planted isn’t winter-friendly, you’ll often find that the bulbs can be dug up and stored indoors until the temperature rises again – either as the bulb itself or re-potted as an indoor houseplant.
And even for the items that can make it through, it’s important to cut out diseased or dead branches and leaves. By doing so, you can improve overall appearance, as well as the long-term health of your plants – as nutrients can reach the right places, and more energy can be put into bud production.
Structure replaces colour
In the months where colour isn’t as vibrant in your outdoor space, grasses and greenery add an excellent sense of structure and movement – without taking up too much space in your beds and borders.
Many plants also hold their shape and flower or seed heads over the winter period, fading to brown from their summer brights. For example, Symphotricums (or Asters) look delicate and dainty and generally flower during late summer and autumn, before turning spiky and brown to add some off-season intrigue to your garden.
You can also use lawns, pavements, walls, fences, and garden furniture to add strong, cohesive shapes to your space.
While most flowers or shrubs are not large or showy in winter, evergreens and architectural foliage have excellent structure to admire throughout this period. Topiary balls in particular offer excellent texture and volume, with the option to house them in pots or hang them around the garden.
Contrasts and colours can be enhanced in the light, and new dimensions can be added when dusted with a coating of snow.
Winter florals often present rich fragrances, as plants naturally try to attract more bumblebees and moths for pollination – including Hamamelis, Daphnes, and Viburnums.
If these blooms are tucked away at the back of borders, they’ll become lost amongst other growth. Instead, plant them close to walkways and entrances, so the scents can be enjoyed and appreciated. Because most winter shrubs are happy in pots, you can always shift them to a less prominent position as the seasons change.
Perk up the décor with paint
Solely relying on nature to introduce colour during winter months can be difficult. Consider painting or staining elements of your garden furniture – including fences, sheds, pots, and benches – to create more vibrancy.
If you’d like your DIY work to be less permanent, use a wash of water-based colour on terracotta pots – as this will rinse off after a few months of rain.
As well as jazzing up your garden, paint also acts as a good layer of protection for your outdoor material – creating a barrier from harsh weathers and preventing damage or rot.
Light and heat
Outdoor lighting is a great way to bring your garden back into play during the winter period, and ramp up the visual appeal of your space.
Try wrapping fairy lights around your furniture or draping them in a tree – you could even incorporate a few tea lights in clear jars to add a nice seasonal twinkle. Just remember to turn them off before going to bed, so as not to disturb wildlife.
If you want to make your outdoor space even cosier and more comfortable, you need to add an element of heat. Scope the market for a brazier or fire pit, and invite your guests to huddle round.