As winter begins to set in, you probably won’t be doing much landscaping. In fact, you may not be thinking about your landscape at all, as you wait out the cold days until spring comes again.
But even as your landscape goes dormant, it’s the perfect time to bring your imagination to life. Time flies – and your gardens will be blooming again before you know it. The question is: will they be as beautiful as you want them to be? Why not take this time right now to begin dreaming, imagining, and planning your landscape for spring?
If you’re thinking about a redesign, or adding some feature that you’ve always wanted, like a pond or outdoor kitchen, these cold wintry days are the perfect time to plan for it.
Break out your vision board! Here are some things you can be thinking about, sketching, and noting, right from the warm comfort of your home, that will help you – and your landscape architect – plan for your new outdoor living space next spring.
Pick Out The Eyesores
Winter is a great time to make note of those less-than-lovely spots in your yard. With foliage gone and gardens sparse, it will be very easy to pick out everything you don’t love about your space.
Is it the garbage pail that sits to one side of your house, necessary but unattractive? Is it the utility junction box that was planted in your yard without regard for aesthetics? The huge coil of garden hose that always seems to collect cobwebs and moldy leaves in the back yard? A pile of garden tools, a stack of firewood, a septic cap, a pipe… or any number of other blemishes that stand out?
You *don’t* have to resign yourself to living with the uglies! Make a note of anything you want to wish away, and then work with your landscape architect on design magic that will make them disappear. There are so many tricks and techniques to disguise eyesores no matter the season, that it would be a shame to spend another moment lamenting yours.
Use these winter months wisely and when spring rolls around you’ll be ready to implement a landscape design that works like a charm.
Note The Best Parts
Unless you plan on bulldozing everything and starting over, there’s probably something you love about your yard. An old growth tree, that perfect, natural boulder, a favorite chair or that big ol’ planter that you and the kids fill and refill with new treats each season.
Don’t shed a tear for it – there’s no reason it can’t be incorporated into your new landscape design, even if you really do plan to bulldoze just about everything else!
A good landscape design – and redesign – will take into account the natural beauty of the space around you. Rather than razing and taming Mother Nature, your landscape can work in harmony with her to create a beautiful and naturalistic environment.
Spend some time considering which parts of your space you’d hate to see go. And be sure to tell your landscape architect so those favorite bits can be worked into your overall plan in a natural and seamless way.
Look For The Bare Patches
Bare spots – where nothing seems to grow and it always looks so empty and blah – can certainly be eyesores. Most likely they’re just bothersome spots that you struggle with year after year that you’ve resigned yourself to living with.
Good news: you don’t have to live with those, either!
Don’t focus on what you *wish* would grow there – let’s face it, you’re never going to get a crop of ruby red tomatoes from a shaded woodland garden – and simply focus on where those bare spots manifest. Under trees, along the north side of your house, in a particularly damp spot, under your porch steps.
When you know where the trouble spots are, then you can begin to work with your landscape architect to find solutions. And there are many! The right types of plants make a difference – shade tolerant, drought or flood resistant, hardy. And even if that fails, if nothing at all will grow in your driest/wettest/shadiest/sunniest/worst spots, there are plenty of alternatives, like container gardens, hardscapes, artwork, seating areas, water features and more.
Start by looking around you and noticing those spots so that they can be addressed when you’re ready to start fresh next spring.
Decide What Bugs You
No, not literal bugs! Rather, think about the things that drive you a little bit too crazy. It could be that your neighbors are too close, and you’re tired of looking directly into their first floor windows from your seat on the patio (or maybe you’re tired of them peering out at you!)
It could be a little too much traffic noise from the street, or the unsightly view of the clothesline that your other neighbor has strung across their yard all summer.
Those little annoyances can really detract from your enjoyment, even if your yard is picture-perfect. Now is the time to start thinking about and cataloging those annoyances, and nobody will fault you for complaining! In fact, the more you complain now, the better your experience will be later.
You can work with your landscape architect to mitigate the buggy stuff, whether it’s through privacy screening like bamboo, heavier shrubbery to block unwanted noise, trellises or other barriers to add more privacy – the possibilities are many! If you know what problems you want to solve, then it becomes easier to design solutions right into your landscape plan.
Imagine What You Would Do… If You Could
Sometimes our imaginations get stuck in low gear. We worry about timing and budget and what-ifs and what-thens. But today, as you settle in for your long winter nap, challenge yourself to think past the everyday and the practical to the *possibilities*.
If you could walk out your back (or front!) door on a warm day next summer and do anything you want, what would it be? Would you love to dive into a sparkling, crystal clear pool, or wade knee-deep in a pond full of colorful, shimmering koi? What would you love to do next fall – rake leaves then hole up in your living room for the rest of the season, or bring your cozy blanket outdoors to sit by a fireplace?
Imagine each season in turn, and imagine what you would do, if you could – if you had no constraints, if the sky was the limit, if you could *enjoy your yard exactly the way you wanted to*.
Sure, there are probably some practical limitations. No matter how much you want your very own Ferris wheel, that’s unlikely to happen. But if you’re imagining gardening, cooking, playing games, plucking zucchini, pursuing hobbies, sitting, reading, eating, hosting parties, meditating, spending time with friends and family, sipping a cup or coffee before work, or even working all day outside – those dreams can become realities!
These coming winter days are the best time to let your imagination run free. Make your wish list as you think about the things you love to do – and *would* love to do – outdoors. Then you can work with your landscape architect to design in the features that will help you realize those dreams, whether it’s a pool, patio, outdoor kitchen, covered seating area, fire pit, pond, basketball court, vegetable garden or just about anything you desire.
By now you have your work cut out for you! Winter won’t seem so long once you get your imagination going and start dreaming of your springtime plans.
As you while away the winter hours planning your new space, get in touch with us for a master planning consultation. Together we’ll create the plan that will serve as the blueprint for your best outdoor life ever!