Winter Landscape Ideas That Will Withstand the Cold

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The winter months are a time when all the living things in the outdoor areas around your home go dormant. It’s an important opportunity for them to rest and recharge before they reemerge in the spring. But if you don’t do some strategic thinking and take care of some important items, it will leave you with dull, drab scenery for a few months.

What winter looks like for you depends a lot on where you live. The climate in your growing zone determines many of the factors that you have to consider when planning landscaping ideas to make winter more interesting. Still, there are things that you can do to make the most of the winter months even in the coldest regions.

Some of the best ideas for winter landscaping have to do with adding landscaping or hardscape features before winter arrives so that you can enjoy them once it does. Another area that you can focus on includes steps you can take to care for what you have so that it survives or even thrives over the winter. Finally, consider adding winter-specific accents and points of interest to add finishing touches.

Read on to get some great tips and tricks for winter landscaping that will shrug off the wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

5 Keys to Winter Landscaping That Withstand the Cold

At the end of the day, everything that you can do to be more proactive in your approach to setting your landscaping up for success against the cold can be boiled down to one of three categories:

  • Addition: You can add new elements to your landscaping that will introduce more color, texture, variety, and interest to your winter landscape.
  • Subtraction: You can do housekeeping in the fall that will help your gardens, boxes, shrubs, bushes, and plants withstand the worst that winter can throw at them.
  • Maintenance: You can either shut down or winterize features of your landscaping to ensure that they are ready, willing, and able when spring arrives.

When it comes to addition, you can add either new plants or new hardscaping. In terms of subtraction, there is care and housekeeping that you can do before winter’s arrival. Maintenance is important for plants that need help to get through and for hardscaping like water features. Maintenance and addition both come into play when you add the finishing touches to make things beautiful and interesting.

Winter-Hardy Plants, Shrubs, & Trees

When you think of live plants that can add some variety and beauty to your winter landscaping, you probably think of evergreens first. That’s definitely the place to look if you want options. Evergreens offer a wide variety of colors, heights, and textures. Choose evergreens that are well-suited to your growing zone and you’ll know that once they’re established, they’ll be reliable winter workhorses.


When you think about what your landscaping looked like last winter, do you remember all the times that you said to yourself: “I wish we had . . . “. Whether you finished that sentence with accent lights along a shoveled path of pavers or you were thinking about pergolas and planters—don’t let another winter go by without getting those items crossed off your wish list.

Care and Housekeeping

Sometimes what you take away can be just as important as what you add. New plants and new hardscape can add winter interest but they can’t turn back time if winter sets in and you find yourself counting all the things you wish that you had done. Pruning perennials and removing annuals are great examples of how subtraction has a role to play in setting up your landscaping for winter wonder.

Water Features

Depending on where you live and how harsh the winters are, you may not need to do much to make sure that water features withstand the trials of a long winter. Even so, it’s a good idea to spend some time in the fall making sure that your water features get whatever they need to be ready for the onset of winter—whatever that might mean for the part of the world you’re in.

Accents and Interest

Adding finishing touches to your winter landscaping is where addition, subtraction, and maintenance all come together. Think of the four areas above as the heavy-lifting that you need to do to get your landscaping set up for winter. Once the big-ticket items are taken care of, you can take a step back and think about the details that will make a big difference.

The first thing that you should do to make sure your landscaping is both interesting and winter-ready is to take down any summer or fall-themed accents that you’ve added. If there are decorations that won’t survive the winter or elements that won’t blend in with your plans for the winter, it’s best to get them into storage until winter has passed.

Once you’ve gotten all of the subtraction done, you can perform maintenance to winterize elements of your landscaping that need a little help to get through the winter. Water features, accent lighting, and more can be year-round features that just need a quick inspection or a minor tweak to be ready for the winter.

Finally, you can add those splashes of color and light that will focus attention on the right areas of your landscaping. That’s how you can make sure that your winter landscaping will pop and offer interest and beauty. Feel free to let your imagination go wild. Indulge your creative impulses. Experiment until you find what works and keep track of what you like and what you don’t from year to year.

Looking for Expert Advice on Winter Landscaping?

Birch’s Lawn Care has been the team that Tri Cities, WA  residents trust for all of the landscaping needs for more than 6 years. If you’re looking for advice on how to get your landscaping ready for winter or need some ideas about how to take your outdoor areas to the next level of beauty and interest—Send us an email at and let us help.

Our landscaping experts will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you find exactly what you’re looking for to make your home’s outdoor areas more fun, interesting, and beautiful this winter.