Winter Color and Structure in the Landscape

winter garden

The pendulous nature of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar along with its blue-green needles add unique character to this winter garden. In the backdrop the bark of Coral Bark Maple (Acer Sango Kaku) glows red with the cooler temperatures and to the right a Skyland’s Oriental Spruce proudly displays its golden hue.

With winter weather upon us here in the northeast, the garden is currently buried under a blanket of snow and is likely to remain that way for some time.  At this time of year the elements of color, form and texture, along with structure play an even more important role in design, and are more pronounced in the winter landscape. Form can exist as horizontal, vertical, pendulous (weeping) rounded, vase-shaped and pyramidal. Texture refers to the nature of the foliage and can be described in a number of ways including fine, course, dull, shiny, wide or narrow, to name a few. Structure refers to the shape or form of a plant with relation to its environment. As seen in the above photograph and description, all three of the plants mentioned add color, form, texture and structure to the landscape.

Blizzard Juno  Jan 27

Spreading Yew and Weeping Norway Spruce

Evergreens are key in providing structure, such as the snow covered spreading yew and cascading Weeping Norway Spruce shown above.  They display a deeper green foliage which contrasts nicely against the the fallen snow.   A vertical backdrop of Western Arborvitae adds to the screening. The combinations of varying form and foliage add all season interest to the backdrop of this poolscape.

snow on spruce

Picea pungens ‘Globusa’ (Globe Blue Spruce)

 This member of the Picea family is Montogomery Spruce ‘Globusa’, a rounded compact form of Colorado Blue Spruce which grows only to a height and diameter of approximately three feet.  Its deep blue color remains throughout all the seasons and is even more noticeable in winter.  The characteristic of evergreens that I find to be so appealing is the wide selection of varying colors and forms.

nandina domestica

Nandina domestica

Berry producing plants such as this Nandina domestica provide an interesting framework and winter color and also serve as a food source for birds.  There are many berry producing shrubs for the landscape including Winterberry, Holly, Elderberry and Viburnum.  Combining both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs in the landscape supplies a range of form, and many deciduous plantings display interesting branch structure and bark, such as the Coral Bark Maple above and Crape Myrtle below.

Crape Myrtle Bark

Crape Myrtle Bark

These are just a few examples of how the winter landscape can be made to be more inviting.  While waiting for spring, the winter season is a good time for assessing and planning the landscape.  If the garden is to look aesthetically pleasing throughout the year, especially during the cold winter months, it is important to include the design elements of color, form, texture and overall structure in your planning.

As Always…Happy Gardening!

2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

blog divider blue bird

Advertisements

Four Season Fabulosity!

This is another fine post from Fine Foliage on foliage combinations for planters and some of these are my favorites so I had to share!

Fine Foliage

IMG_0585 I’m a lazy gardener – or at least I prefer to choose how much work to do rather than feeling overwhelmed by a ‘to do’ list. I suspect I’m not alone…………..

So here is a container for you that looks this good ALL YEAR! This would be a perfect combo on a shady porch where you can enjoy the lush foliage and see the seasonal changes. That’s right – even though all the plants here are evergreen they all change in some way during the year, either in color or because they have flowers. See the plant profiles below to see how they strut their stuff.

Clockwise from top;

Paprika coral bells(Heuchera) – spicy round leaves add a punch of heat to this combo. White flowers in spring combine with extra hot colors for a show stopping display. Zones 4-9

Silver dragon lily turf (Liriope spicata

View original post 360 more words

The Art of Layering

This is a wonderful post showing how combining foliage really is a form of art. I love your combinations and will be sharing this with my readers!

Fine Foliage

IMG_0486 Both Christina and I design container gardens as part of our businesses. We love what we do and we do something different every time! I was asked once if I ever got stuck for ideas and to be honest I never have. You see even if I find myself reaching for a few of my favorite plants (again) I know I’ll combine them in new ways. But there’s another design layer to consider; the context .

You see the container design is not an isolated entity but rather is part of a larger scene. Whether on a front porch or set within a vast garden, we have the opportunity to establish a relationship between the container garden and its surroundings.

That really came home to me as I watched noted photographer David Perry at a photo shoot in my garden recently. I had been asked to design ten containers for…

View original post 611 more words