Do you ever get the feeling that winter isn’t just literally cold, but figuratively, as well – empty, harsh, unwelcoming? After the leaves have fallen and the blooms faded, do you feel like you are suddenly exposed to all that bleak, cold air? And in the process, exposed to the neighbors and anybody who walks or drives by your home?
If every winter leaves you a little more tempted to plant giant rows of hedges to maintain some privacy, put down the spade and read this first. We’re going to share some ideas for landscaping for winter privacy that will serve you all year, and look great throughout the coldest seasons Mother Nature can muster.
Not Your Grandmother’s Picket Fence
They’re cute and homey, but they don’t offer much in the way of privacy. On the other hand, you don’t need to start nailing up ugly wood boards just to keep slightly-more-friendly-than-usual neighbors from constantly peeking into your back yard.
The key is to choose a fence style that suits the architecture of your home and then landscape around it in a way that adds color, texture and complementary height. Include evergreens, climbing vines, tall grasses, a water feature or two, and you’ve got both visual and auditory privacy.
Think outside the box when it comes to deciduous trees, too. Just because they lose their leaves doesn’t mean they can’t bring winter beauty and privacy. Red or yellow twig dogwood, and witch hazel, are two great examples of trees that have a gorgeous and unique branch structure long after the last leaf has fallen.
Dress up fences with hanging planters, not just in spring but through fall and winter with seasonal plants, cut branches and other décor to keep it visually interesting. If you want to get creative, string lights along the top will add a touch of warmth to any day.
Any Grass But Lawn
You may enjoy your lush green lawn but it isn’t going to do you any favors through the winter season. It doesn’t offer privacy on a good day, and winter can turn it brown and unwelcoming.
The good news is there are plenty of other grasses that you can add to your landscape for a much more enjoyable multi-sensory and multi-season experience. Maiden grass and Miscanthus are two tall, all-season grasses that make exceptional border plantings.
Use them along your property line, against a fence, or as a backdrop in your garden to bring height, texture and motion all winter. You’ll get an extra treat as their fronds collect snow, adding another point of visual interest to your winter landscape.
One of the best things about tall grasses is that they change throughout the seasons, from lush and green in spring, to browns, golds and white during winter.
Evergreen Beyond Pine
There’s no shortage of evergreens of the pine needle variety that can add some color and privacy to your landscape all year, but there are other types of plants that can add a different type of charm and unique visual interest, too.
Bamboo is a perfect example of a plant that offers all-year privacy, along with a soothing zen appeal. It’s easy to grow, requires very little water, and fills in quickly, which is great if you’re just starting a landscape project.
Bamboo is also a natural habitat for birds, bringing welcome wildlife to your garden. As an added bonus, a bamboo screen along entry points to your yard is also a good way to keep deer out.
Plant it along a fence, property line, in a garden, along the perimeter of a patio, or anywhere you want to create some all-season privacy with plenty of visual appeal.
Pergolas, Trellises And Other Structures
Good landscaping is all about using elements that work for you and your lifestyle. And if you want privacy as part of that lifestyle, sometimes it pays to simply build it in!
Pergolas and gazebos are great for adding privacy and a cozy warmth to your space. Incorporate them alone, or cover them with blooms and greenery for extra interest. Even after the plants go dormant, the branches and vines will add texture and additional privacy.
Gazebos can be included anywhere you want a private space, whether it’s right outside your kitchen window, or deep in a soothing garden space. Pergolas are excellent additions against the side of your house, where they can shield dining areas and relaxing spaces from the rest of the world.
Trellises are also a great structure for creating privacy wherever you want it. Once again, they can be used in conjunction with a side of your house, or built as a standalone structure along a property line or at the edge of a patio. Like their fence cousins, they’re ideal for adding seasonal plantings to create a living, changing wall throughout the seasons.
Privacy For The Ears
Usually we think of privacy in terms of shielding ourselves physically from view. But sometimes privacy can come in the form of sound. The stillness of winter means sound can carry even further, so if you’re not interested in sharing your conversations with the neighbors – or not interested in hearing theirs! – then consider adding auditory privacy, as well.
Water features like bubblers, waterfalls and fountains can be run all winter long, not only creating privacy but adding stunning visual appeal and soothing motion. They can make your space feel cozier, and can even block out unwanted noises like street traffic. And when the weather turns frigid, you’ll be treated to some stunning ice sculptures, too.
There’s a lot you can do to add privacy during the winter months and turn an otherwise barren landscape into an enjoyable multi-sensory experience. Whether it’s relying on evergreens, building private structures, using four-season plantings, or thinking outside the box to something truly unique, our landscape design pros can work with you to create a space that affords you privacy and enjoyment all year. Contact us for a consultation and tell us about the private sanctuary you’re imagining!