Now is the time to invest in a winter landscape that can be the start of a luxury outdoor living experience that will last for decades to come. Contrary to what many believe, landscaping in winter does not have to be a fill-in-the-gap, hit or miss project between fall and spring. There are ways to make your yard come to life even in the coldest months of the year. This is also a time to add new structures, create new zones of interest in your yard, and to make your home look uniquely significant with impeccable new landscape lighting designs.
Consider that up to 80 percent of any Houston landscaping master plan that we design will feature some sort of hardscape. By hardscape we do not necessarily mean paved areas alone. Stone, brick, and even gravel are technically hardscape areas that blend beautifully with vegetation. However, due to their inorganic nature, they can be constructed during the coldest times of the year regardless of seasonal growing cycles.
A winter landscape should be planned around activities that can be held outdoors during each of the four seasons. Granted, you may not want to sit in your garden during a cold front during February. But then again, sometimes we get days in February that are better suited for sitting outside than the scorching summer of 2011 we just experienced. Consequently, never write off any part of your yard as unusable due to seasonality. Each zone of interest can be rendered inhabitable at any time of the year provided temperatures are comfortable and rainfall is minimal.
Softscape elements can also be added to your winter landscape thanks to the temperate climate of the Gulf Coast. There are many perennial plants that bloom in winter. Some of these need to be planted in the fall, of course, but others like pansies and hellebore can be planted throughout the winter months all the way through to March. Texas is home to a number of native garden plants that can transform a dead, dreary yard into a world of color in the coldest times of the year.
Planting times are critical for each species, so it is best to rely upon someone with training and experience in botanical science to choose the best plants for gardens, ground covers, and hardscape borders. Never assume that because a plant blooms in the winter that you can plant it at any time during the winter. Always ask a Houston landscaping designer which plants can be added to your winter landscape during a particular month of the year.
Outdoor buildings, of course, typically see the most activity during the winter. Today’s outdoor structures feature a level of sophistication that can rival that of small homes from 40 years ago. Garden pavilions, swimming pool houses, and outdoor kitchens are built with fully furnished interiors, cooking areas, climate controls, lights, and even bathrooms in certain instances. These outdoor buildings have become so comfortable to inhabit that many Houston landscaping clients are planning them with holiday parties in mind for those times of the year that see the most visitation from friends and family.
Remember, as well, how powerful landscape lighting can be when it comes to magnifying even the simplest elements of a winter landscape. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, Houston landscaping clients can call us and order special holiday lights just for this time of year. Or, they can upgrade their existing arrays in conjunction with new hardscape and softscape designs best added at this time of year.