If you mourn the end of the gardening season, rest easy, the plants may be dormant, but you don’t have to be. In fact winter is the best time to reflect on the garden, planning ahead, so that you are ready to go at the first sign of spring. With winter, comes perspective. We are given the opportunity to sit back and gaze through the window at the landscape. The structure of the garden becomes evident and it is easier to see how the garden is thriving and what is out of balance.
Having a landscape plan down on paper is super helpful when it comes to realizing your vision. What I like to call a client’s “dream plan” helps to inform decisions, keeping clients on budget and on track. The idea of the dream plan is to think large and scale back as necessary. There is no need to complete an entire design in one season. In many cases it is better to tackle a landscape design over time and with well thought out phases. This way the garden grows with the client and small changes can be made here and there to ensure the best outcome.
In Northwestern Ontario, winter is our longest season, and I am a firm believer in embracing the cold, snow and awesome landscape that winter offers us. As the lake freezes, out come the ski’s, snow mobiles and long winter walks. But rarely do we garden for the winter months. With a few smart decisions, your yard can easily become a four season paradise. Tree’s can provide shade in the summer and a wind block in the winter. Plants that were vibrant hues of green, drop their leaves to expose bright red bark. Berries are left high on branches to encourage birds to stay, eat and in the spring, start a family. Planning the garden is the only way to ensure that you will have four beautiful season’s to enjoy outside.
Perspective on the garden is easier sought in the midst of winter, the landscape is exposed and we are left with the bones of the garden. With a plan in hand you will be better prepared to break ground– as soon as it thaws.