The gardens in the upper mountains are magical in winter. We don’t get snow every year, but when we do the whole landscape turns into a storybook scene. Cooler temperatures and frosts mean gardening in winter is all about structural elements and surfaces. That task is often easier when done in combination with pruning back plants and planting.
With that in mind, winter (and autumn, to a degree) are the time you should be doing any garden renovations or starting new projects. It’s the ideal time of year to work out any drainage problems you might have. The wetter months will make that problem very clear very early. When it comes to your plants, though, winter is a time to pull back and tailor your care to the climate.
Keeping the lawn healthy
Let’s start with the lawn. Your lawn’s growth will slow down in the colder months, so you don’t need to be out with the mower every weekend. But you will need to be out with the rake, clearing leaf litter on a more regular basis. The advantage of doing that means you’re less likely to break your mower when you do take it out for a spin.
The other threat to lawns in winter is over-watering. Generally, in a wet winter you won’t be too worried by this anyway. But as a rule, unless your lawn is a dustbowl, you shouldn’t need to water it in winter.
To-do list for gardening in winter
The end of autumn and the start of winter are an ideal time for new planting. Plants are growing more slowly at this time of the year. They won’t need a lot of fertilizer (beyond the normal amount you would feed a new plant).
Don’t overcompensate for the slower growing period by trying to plant more. There’s also less light in winter, and you don’t want to stunt the chances of any new growth by crowding it out.
The correct choice of cold-climate plants is the key to a successful garden here. With the right guidance, your plant choice should be determined by what will survive our cold winters and thrive in a milder months. But that’s rarely an issue for our clients, who are coming up here to create their dream gardens. They generally have a vision of what they want that will work well up here.
Structural projects for your winter garden
As I said earlier, winter is the ideal time to look at any structural issues or renovations you want to complete in your garden. This may be small jobs like decking, fencing and paving. Or larger structures like retaining walls, feature walls or structures like pergolas or summer houses.
To make the most of these features, you should talk to an experienced landscape designer. They will be able to identify any issues and find solutions that will fit within your budget and your vision. And that will help you create a garden you can enjoy all year round.