CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Let's 'Jazz Up' our Gardens for Winter

 By Yvette Henson, San Miguel Basin, CSU Extension

Most of us are not getting out much right now and/or we are working from home, so we see our own landscapes much more than usual.  Are you, like me, experiencing some boredom and some “I miss my summer garden” blues?  Consider adding more winter interest to your garden- I am! 

Thoughtfully place a few built structures and plants that provide winter interest and food and shelter for birds or other wildlife.  This will make our gardens more inviting in winter.  When the weather is not hospitable for being outdoors, arrange indoor seating for outdoor viewing, place colorful elements where they can be seen when leaving or returning home from walking the dogs, getting the mail, getting groceries, or just going for a drive. Make use of or plan to create paths that invite a walk through your garden in the winter.

Some built structures that can be added or ‘jazzed up’ are walls, fences, trellises, covered seating areas, raised beds, containers, fountains, sculpture and outbuildings.  Consider adding a pop of color with paint or stain to any of these structures to brighten things up.  And string lights are not just for Christmas decorations!  You can also shine light on things that you want to highlight, like sheds or trees.

Branching form of trees and shrubs, colorful or textured bark, and seed heads on perennials and grasses provide winter interest.  Winter color is also in fruit and bark.  Some conifer foliage can even change color in the winter!  

We can add something like this colorful birdhouse
for a quick pop of color this winter!
Photo credit: Pixabay

This trellis isn't colorful but its presence makes a statement. 
Maybe I could paint the chair orange for more interest!

The Playhouse never fails to cheer me up in any season!

There are many beautiful 'Winter King' Hawthornes
in Grand Junction showing off their red fruits this winter!
photo credit: wikimedia

One of my favorite pines is Pinus bungeana, lacebark pine. 
Isn't the bark coloration beautiful?  
Denver Botanic Garden has some good specimens. 
photo credit: Penn State Extension

Phlomis russeliana seedheads in winter.
Try the Plant Select Phlomis cashmeriana
Photo Credit: My Wildlife Allotment


  1. Thank you for bringing more beauty into our lives.
    Keep up your good work, please!

  2. Great examples & ideas for winter cheer. I love that playhouse. Please share more photos or plans!

  3. Here is an idea for your readers: I wrapped three wood tomato stakes of different lengths with lights and stuck them just behind my winter, Karl Foerster grasses - they appear to be growing out of the grass. It was easy to do and we light light them for a few hours in the evening. How a gardener does Xmas lights.