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Is it Okay to Landscape in the Winter?

Landscaping during the winter might seem counterintuitive to some, but it’s actually a valuable opportunity to prepare, maintain, and enhance outdoor spaces with winter plants and some hardscaping. Embracing winter for landscaping upgrades offers distinct advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked! Read on for lots of helpful tips and some humor to keep things humming.

Winter Flowers And Landscaping what to plant for the colder months

Optimizing Winter Landscaping Opportunities

Landscaping in winter is the ideal time to plan upcoming projects. You can conduct research, outline designs, and strategize for the spring season (especially if you have an HOA which will require permitting). Utilize this time to tidy existing landscapes, clear debris, and assess areas that require improvement in the spring!

While planting may be limited during colder months, hardscaping projects like building structures, laying paths, or installing features such as fountains or fire pits (which will be complemented by actual plants) can be undertaken efficiently in the winter, as long as the ground has not frozen too deep.

With trees and shrubs in dormancy, winter is perfect for pruning. Trimming in the absence of leaves aids in assessing the plant’s structure and promotes better growth once spring arrives. You can conduct soil tests, amend soil quality, and fertilize to enhance the ground for upcoming planting. Aerating the lawn to ensure healthier and more robust growth in the following seasons is also an option!

By the way, how does Jack Frost start his landscaping projects? He breaks the ice!

What Plants Survive in Cold Weather?

Plants that survive winter outside offer an opportunity to maintain a vibrant and lively garden, even in the frostiest climates. Choosing the right species can ensure a beautiful landscape year-round. Several resilient winter plant varieties are known for their ability to survive and even flourish in colder temperatures.


Winter Boxwood what to plant for the colder months

Evergreen plants such as junipers, pines, and spruces retain their foliage throughout the year, providing constant greenery and adding visual interest to winter landscapes. They endure cold weather exceptionally well and offer a sense of permanence in the garden.

Winter-Blooming Flowers

Winter Heath what to plant for the colder months

Some winter plants, like the Winter heath (Erica carnea) and Hellebores, bloom during winter. These hardy perennials provide colorful blooms when most other plants are dormant, adding vibrancy to the winter garden.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grass what to plant for the colder months

Grasses like feather reed grass, blue oat grass, and fountain grass remain visually appealing in colder weather. Their textured foliage and ability to withstand frost make them excellent choices for winter landscapes.

Shrubs and Trees

Winterberry With Snow what to plant for the colder months

Certain shrubs and trees, including witch hazel, winterberry, and certain types of dogwood, exhibit stunning bark or berries during winter, creating striking visual appeal even without their leaves. You won’t want to ignore these winter plants!


Succulents what to plant for the colder months

Some succulents like sedum and hens-and-chicks are hardy enough to withstand freezing temperatures. Their ability to store water allows them to survive in cold conditions. It’s like a water bottle on a trip, except for a plant! (And they are stuck, poor things).

Choosing winter plants that survive winter outside not only sustains a lively garden but also minimizes the need for constant replanting. These cold-resistant species offer diverse textures, colors, and visual interest, ensuring that your garden remains captivating even in the chilliest of seasons. Properly selecting and caring for these resilient winter plants can create a winter landscape that is inviting, any time of the year!  Now for another joke. Why did the gardener go to winter school? To improve his ice-scaping skills!

What Plants Are Best to Plant in Fall Before Winter?

Planting in the fall before winter sets in is a strategic move that allows for optimal root development and ensures a strong start for plants when spring arrives. Several garden plants for the winter with different varieties are well-suited for fall planting, taking advantage of the season’s cooler temperatures and abundant moisture to establish roots before the winter chill.


Fall is the ideal time to plant bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. These bulbs benefit from the cool soil and gradually establish strong root systems, ready to burst into vibrant blooms when the weather warms in spring.


Planting perennials in the fall provides them with a head start. Species like peonies, daylilies, and hostas thrive when planted in autumn. Their root development during the cooler months ensures more robust growth and better flowering come spring.

Other Shrubs & Trees

Fall is a perfect season for planting shrubs and trees as the cooler weather allows them to focus on root establishment. Species such as flowering dogwood, red maple, and spirea, when planted in the fall, establish roots before winter, ensuring a healthier start in the following growing season.

Cool-Weather Vegetables

Vegetables like garlic, onions, and certain varieties of lettuce, spinach, and kale are best planted in the fall. These crops take advantage of cooler temperatures and thrive before the harsh winter weather arrives. Get your healthy snacks before the holiday treats arrive! (Basically, you gotta eat your greens before the cookies, ya know?).

Cool-Season Annuals

Certain annuals like pansies, violas, and ornamental cabbages not only survive but flourish in the cooler fall temperatures, providing colorful blooms and foliage well into winter planting season.

Fall planting allows these plant species to acclimate to their new environment and establish strong roots before the winter freeze. In Ohio, the deep freeze is often delayed and can allow for planting even in to early winter! This sets the stage for healthy, flourishing growth when spring arrives, providing an advantage over plants installed later in the growing season.

How Do You Landscape During Winter?

In summary, utilizing this time for structural improvements, maintenance, and planning ensures that your landscape is primed for the spring season. By taking advantage of winter’s unique opportunities and choosing the right winter plants and projects, one can create a landscape that remains appealing and well-prepared for the coming warmer months.

Remember, even if it’s not spring and it doesn’t feel like you should be landscaping, you can still get a massive head start! If you are doing any hardscaping, getting drawings, permits and designs done while everyone is inside during the cold can put you first in line to get your project on any company’s schedule! Also, if you want to be proud of your landscape all year round the winter plants we listed earlier can go a long way. Most people expect landscapes to be dead and dreary during winter, but that doesn’t always have to be the case!

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