Wintertime and landscape improvement might seem like an odd couple of sorts, but really it is a great time to look over your property. What should we look for? For starters, safety of both life and property should be the primary goal of any landscape endeavors. Take advantage of the fallen leaves and scout for any broken limbs on trees or woody shrubs. These can be removed during winter, and it is best to take care before foliage returns and we forget about a potential safety hazard.
Protection from Wildlife
Other items you might be able to discover during this time are local animal populations, their movements and which of your plant matters are preferential. Take advantage of a freshly fallen snow and you may see the dreaded deer track circling plants and trees, along with missing plant material. While the damage may have already been done, a temporary or permanent fencing solution may be in order either around individual specimens, or the entire property.
Form A Vision
Besides maintenance, Winter is the perfect opportunity to see what is lacking overall. Annual and perennial plants are obviously not going to be at their peak, and you may notice a great deal of blank spaces around your garden and property overall. Not everyone enjoys spending time outside at home during the cold; however you may gaze out your window at a somewhat blank canvas and mull some ideas over. Is it important to have a space that is pleasing year round? If so, you may consider elements that are not seasonal. Natural stone, garden art or sculpture, or inclusion/addition of coniferous trees (such as my favorite “Pinus Strobus” as they resemble something from a Dr. Seuss book). Would the space best be defined by masonry such as a low wall? A firepit is always a nice touch, and can make a great place for friends and family to gather despite the elements.
Add Some Color and Lights
Winter might be drab, yet the simple act of painting a fence or gate a vibrant color when temperatures are appropriate can surely brighten up an area year-round. While you won’t reap any Vitamin D from it, low-voltage lighting landscape lighting is another often overlooked element. Striking subjects for lighting are trees. They can look absolutely stunning without leaves, and draw the viewer’s eye in during nighttime. Particularly fascinating is an expertly lit tree contrasting against pure white snow. Take a moment and focus on a branch and its intricate texture and shadows. With everything in nature, no two trees are alike, and you may find yourself noticing something new (even on a junior specimen) every single evening. Besides the art and visual portion, well-placed lighting gives a home a greater degree of safety year round. Illuminating main walkways can prevent a potentially damaging slip and fall accident, particularly during winter months where ice and snow can hide under shadows. Lastly, for our clients whose vacation homes we service, outdoor lighting provides security and the appearance that “somebody is home”.
Whether you enjoy this part of the year or not, it is great for planning ways to reap maximum satisfaction for any outdoor setting. If you’re like me, it can be very easy to come up with ideas for improvement. Just be sure to keep budget and maintenance considerations in check as you jot your own wonderful thoughts down. If you happen to reach a stopping point and would like professional guidance in achieving your next phase of outdoor improvement, please give us a call at (860)350-APES(2737). We are gifted with some of the most creative and considerate Account Managers (most with over twenty years experience) to include Landscape Architect J. Scott Williams, Shayne Newman, Giles Vaughan, Greg Kaiser, and Elaine Lord. Lastly, thank you for reading!