9 Ideas to Brighten Up a Dull Winter Garden

By   | Last Updated :   March 11, 2022 | Filed In :   Garden Style Ideas

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

adding colour to winter garden

Image credit: @susanbrownlow

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:

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

plant winter bloomers

Image credit: @sophiedziwinski

In the cold months, winter flowers can bring colour and life to your garden. You can grow violets, pansies, camellias, snapdragons, cyclamen, heathers, geraniums and chrysanthemums.

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

add evergreen shrubs and trees

Image credit: @suemayer98

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

grow fragrant flowers

Image credit: @clivenichols

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

introduce colourful planters

Image credit: @don_in_cape_town

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

add a fire pit or brazier

Image credit: @lieu.s

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

brighten up a dull winter garden with birds

Image credit: @adventurous_moomin

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

create a structural focal point

Image credit: @victoriancountryhome

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.

You can go a step further and add heating to them. You can then throw in some comfortable seating and add a few furniture cushions for a cosy feel.

You can also string fairy lights to the columns or let winter-hardy ivy and clematis climb over them.

8. Build a plant wall

build a plant wall for a dull winter garden

Image credit: @nappingtiger

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

light up dull winter garden

Image credit: @angelashledon

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!

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