The long winter months can make your garden look a little dull, but with a bit of planning and some work, you can transform it into a bright and cheerful place that you’ll enjoy spending time in.
By adding some cold-hardy bloomers, evergreen shrubs, warm string lights, and maybe even a fire pit, winter gardens can be just as pleasant to spend time in as summer ones.
Read on to discover our favourite, low-maintenance ideas to brighten up a dull winter garden.
Adding colour to the garden in winter
Winter gardens can be bare and colourless places but there are many ways to jazz them up. From planting colourful and fragrant bloomers to throwing in some vibrant cushions and hanging lanterns, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Before you start brightening your winter garden, give it a tidy. Winters can mean dead foliage, overgrown shrubs, unkempt flowerbeds, and wild weeds. A clean winter garden is easier to work on.
- Plant bright, fragrant winter flowers near your patio or along an oft-travelled pathway. By doing so, you can enjoy their colour and sweet fragrances during their entire blooming.
- Choose frost-proof, colourful planters for your winter garden. Some ideal picks are planters made of plastic, wood, metal, and fibreglass. Glazed ceramic and clay planters can crack in winter.
- Add vibrant cushions to your winter garden furniture. These will cosy up the space and make sitting for long hours more comfortable.
- Hang lamps and lanterns on bare branches. Drape string lights around poles and tree trunks. Use warm LEDs to light up your garden.
Winter garden ideas
Ready to transform your dull garden into a winter wonderland? Plant winter-hardy bloomers like geraniums and viburnum for their colour and fragrance and add evergreen shrubs for a splash of green.
You can also install a fire pit, gazebo, or waterfall in your garden to act as a focal point. And why not add a spotlight or two to these features with outdoor lighting?
Take a look at these bright winter garden ideas to inspire you:
1. Plant winter bloomers
Mix these winter flowers in your pots for a colourful display. Or plant single-hued blooms together. You can also grow these in window boxes and hanging baskets Make sure to keep your flowers protected from frost.
2. Add evergreen shrubs and trees
Including evergreen shrubs and trees in your flower beds will help bring much-needed colour to your winter garden. They will add rich shades of emerald, forest green, gold, and scarlet when the rest of it is bare and leafless.
Consider growing holly, winter gold, firethorn, dogwood, and winter Daphne. As well as adding a splash of colour to your garden, they will provide berries, seeds and shelter for wildlife in the dead of winter.
Tip: You can also use hedging as a backdrop to your winter garden. Go for evergreen varieties, like griselinia, boxwood, and yew to provide year-round colour and beauty.
3. Grow fragrant flowers
Flowers blooming on a winter’s day look gorgeous and some can bring a whole new layer of joy to your senses with their sweet fragrances.
Iris, sweet box, winter honeysuckle, viburnum, and crocus are a few winter must-haves. Plant these and you will enjoy the fruity, flowery, honey, or vanilla-like notes every time you step outdoors.
4. Introduce colourful planters
Instead of using dull containers for your plants, jazz up your winter garden with bright and colourful planters. Pick shades that complement your outdoor space as well as your winter flowers.
Experiment with bold red, orange, and blue planters. If you want something softer, go for pastel shades that blend in with the garden. You can also paint your old, faded planters with water-based stains or spray paints.
5. Add a fire pit or brazier
Winters may lack warmth, but your garden doesn’t have to. Install a fire pit, brazier, fire bowl, or fireplace to cosy up your space. You can buy one ready-made, have one custom-made or make one yourself.
A warm, crackling fire in your garden is ideal for winter evenings. A fire pit will offer a warm and bright ambience, perfect for garden parties with friends and family.
You might also like: Garden Furniture to Go With Your Fire Pit Ideas
6. Attract birds
Why not attract feathered visitors to your winter garden? You can grow plants for shelter and food, create a bird box, leave cut fruits in your garden, and place nuts and berries in a bowl.
You can also add bird feeders and water baths to a quiet corner of your garden.
More on this: The Best Garden Ideas for Wildlife in the UK
7. Create a structural focal point
How about adding a gazebo or closed pavilion to your garden? You can use these structures during mild winter days as quiet afternoon retreats for reading and painting, hosting tea parties and more.
8. Build a plant wall
A plant wall is a vertical wall on which you can grow plants. You can turn any bare and unsightly wall in your garden into one, adding the perfect dose of greenery to your winter garden.
So, how to make one? Simply fix a trellis, frame, or display box on your wall. Then carefully mount potted plants using wires and nails. Grow winter flowers like pansies and violas. Or go green with trailing ivy, grasses and hardy succulents.
Tip: For a thriving plant wall, make sure it receives at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. You may also need to water the wall when temperatures are above freezing, prune the plants, and remove any dried foliage.
9. Light up your garden
Garden lighting can add warmth to a cold garden. Use concealed lights or directional spotlights to highlight any garden feature, like a statue, waterfall or arbour.
You can install lights along a garden pathway, driveway or doorway. And hang lanterns, sconces and lamps to add an element of whimsy to your garden. Finally, you can drape fairy lights around trees and columns.
Tip: Use LED lights to conserve energy. These produce less heat, brighter light, and are cost-efficient, too.
In the end, you don’t have to settle for a dull garden in winter, however grey the sky might be. There’s a lot you can do to brighten up your garden patch without spending too much on new garden features. So go ahead and do it!