How to design a winter garden

If your garden looks drab and uninspiring at this time of year, that may bebecause it was planned in the sunny summer days. But if you can get your garden looking great in winter, it will give you pleasure throughout the year. Here are 5 tips for creating a winter garden.

1.      Create a garden with structure

Get out a pen and paper while tucked up and cosy by the fire and map out your garden. Construct a framework of paths, screens, pergolas and eye catching objects to make the space more enticing and to lure you through the garden to points of interest.

2.      Choose plants with shape, texture or eye catching bark

peeling_winter_barkEvergreen shrubs are a staple of the winter garden. The tactile textured peeling bark of paperbark maples, Tibetan cherry and Chinese red birches can look dazzling when backlit by low winter sun. Soft silhouettes of ornamental grasses also light up. Cheery berries are enjoyed by gardeners and birds alike on a crisp frosty morning.

3.      Feast all the senses

HamamelisSome of the most intoxicating fragrant shrubs are in bloom in these months of sensory deprivation. The perfumed flowers of Daphne Jacqueline Postil, Witch hazel or honey scented Christmas box will lift your spirits on a grey winter’s day.

4.      Add sculpture to your garden

Roger Platts_RHS_Chelsea
Roger Platts

Garden sculpture can be intriguing, alluring or comical in a garden space. It may be visible from your window and it will look appealing all year round.

5.      Light up your garden

Garden lighting
MGD Outdoor Electrical

Over the winter months, it is often dark when we leave for work and dark when we get home. A few splashes of light illuminating plants with great shape or texture, a water feature or sculpture adds a touch of magic.


If you design your garden in winter, any landscaping and planting can be carried out in spring so you can enjoy your garden in summer.