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Garden design solutions: Planting design for winter interest

Most of love spending time in our gardens during the summer, but a well-designed garden can still provide plenty of interest in the colder months. Too often, however, a winter garden is badly let down by disappointing and lacklustre planting. We can’t, of course, rely on the majority of the plants that perform so exuberantly in the summer, but with a little bit of careful planning we can ensure that our winter planting still delights us.


Here are our top three tips for designing great winter planting:

1. Focus on the structure

A successful garden relies on a clearly defined framework to lead the eye and link different spaces together. This may take the form of physical structures such as walls, screens, pergolas and paths, but it can also be achieved with planting. Trees can offer wonderful structure and internal height, but hedges can be equally useful. Statement evergreen topiary (e.g. Taxus (yew), Buxus (box), Ilex (holly) or Laurus nobilis (sweet bay)) can also really add to a garden’s structure providing it is used carefully and strategically.



2. Don’t make the mistake of thinking colour is just for summer

Ok, so our winter garden is not going to be as bright and varied as it was in mid-summer, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy plenty of colour during the colder months. The eye-catching stems of Cornus ‘Sibirica’ or Cornus ‘Flaviramea’ (dogwoods) are brilliant at this time of year, as is the variegated evergreen foliage of plants such as Ilex ‘Golden King’ (holly), Euonymus ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ and Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’.


For winter flowers, we’ve got shrubs such as Mahonia ‘Charity’, Skimmia ‘Rubella’ or Viburnum ‘Dawn’, and we can also look to Hellebores, snowdrops or the beautiful Clematis ‘Freckles’. There are even a few plants that will continue to bear colourful berries over much of the winter. Holly is an obvious example, but Symphoricarpos albus (snowberry) is also well worth having.



3. And don’t forget the fragrance

Please don’t forget about fragrance over the winter months. Plenty of plants provide really delightful scent at this time of year, and we can make the most of them if they are close to paths or seating areas. Hamamelis mollis (witchhazel) and Sarcococca confusa (sweet box) both offer sensational fragrance. Chimonanthus ‘Luteus’ (yellow wintersweet) is less well-known but has highly scented yellow flowers borne on bear stems. Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera ‘Winter Beauty’) is a wonderfully fragrant climber, and even the humble snowdrop (Galanthus ‘Magnet’ is a great option) can be delightfully perfumed.

Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.

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