There was a time when we closed the whole yard when closing the swimming pool. On weekends, we’d go to the mountains to enjoy the fall colours and landscapes. In winter, no one would been seen walking in the snow behind the house.
Things have changed a lot since then. Gardens are now designed to offer an evolving spectacle throughout the seasons. Some even become wonderfully welcoming and cozy once the cold sets in.
Here are our best ideas to make the most of your backyard all year round. When the first chills are felt, your outdoor space will be magnificent and all set for all kinds of sweet moments.
When temperatures drop, the best way to enjoy your outdoor space is to protect the patio from bad weather and make it as warm as possible. If you don't want to invest in a fixed awning, attach a garden shed to the walls, cover the pergola or use a large parasol. Store warm, comfortable cushions and chenille or fur throws in a box nearby.
An efficient patio heater makes it possible to stay outside longer in the evening, and for some, all year round. Electric models can be fixed directly to the house while free-standing propane models have the advantage of being movable, which allows you to heat the area of your choice.
Wood, propane, natural gas, ethanol… Outdoor fireplaces have what it takes to warm up the atmosphere. While table fireplaces create a beautiful ambiance, a wood fireplace provides comforting warmth. And what’s better than roasting marshmallows over the fire in the middle of January!
Laid out on a paved surface, the area will be easy to clear from snow. Opt for comfortable Adirondack chairs, add a few blankets and some furs. Surround the area with tall shrubs for protection from the wind and make the most of winter.
Illuminate the patio with lanterns, retro bare bulbs, string lights. Also illuminate the main plants and wrap string lights around your trees. Doing it now will allow you to create a magical ambiance in the garden without freezing your fingertips.
And if you think it is too early, you will quickly realize that the same lighting is versatile, creating different atmospheres depending on the season.
Flamboyant fall show
While many plants are at their peak during the summer months, others steal the show in the fall. Consider integrating them into your landscape so that your garden is splendid all year round. The flowering of certain perennials, like that of hydrangeas, continues until the first snow arrives.
Here are some suggestions to enjoy a festival of colours in your garden.
- Amazing deciduous trees: maple, American sweet gum tree, American red oak, Japanese bush cherry, ginkgo biloba
- Fiery shrubs: serviceberry, winged burning bush, chokeberry, arrowwood, staghorn sumac, Royal Purple smoketree, Amur maple, Japanese barberry
- Late-flowering perennials: New England aster, Japanese anemone, sedum, stonecrop
- Grasses at their peak: miscanthus, pennisetum, calamagrostis
- Fruits that attract birds: European mountain ash, hawthorn, ornamental crabapple, arrowwood, shrub rose
In your pots, also replace etiolated annuals with fall chrysanthemums and ornamental cabbages that will instantly brighten up your arrangement.
Garden of frost
While conifers are the big stars of snowy gardens, some other plants cannot be ignored. The oak, whose leaves take on copper tones, sway in the breeze and hang on to stay until spring, is one of them.
After their leaves have fallen, feast your eyes on the bark of maples and birches, the yellow, red or purple stems of dogwoods or the exceptional curves of corkscrew willows, weeping trees and locust trees.
Other plants with permanent foliage add colour. This is the case for certain spindles, holly, boxwood and rhododendron. Ornamental crabapple trees covered with yellow, red or orange crabapples will delight birds during the long winter months, as will the fruits of rowan trees, rose bushes, cottoneasters, berberis...
Finally, the dried bouquets of grasses, scabious plants, clematis, hydrangeas and sedums take on near monochrome hues that stand out gently against the snowy landscape.
Once covered with frost, the coneflowers will still be standing proudly and will also allow birds to feed. These are all reasons not to prune everything at the end of summer.
Your own spa at home
People often enjoy their spa the most in the fall and winter seasons. Create an inviting decor by surrounding it with plants that will protect you from the wind while adding colour and depth to the landscape.
BBQ on the menu
Some enthusiasts cook outside all year round. If you are not too sensitive to the cold, there is no reason to keep this little pleasure to the summer months. After all, a moonlit dinner is so romantic!
Here are 8 tips to enjoy your barbecue all year round:
- Place your barbecue in a sheltered spot.
- Avoid wearing ample clothing which could come in contact with the grates. (Avoid nylon and polyester clothing too, as those materials are highly flammable.)
- Clear the snow from your barbecue.
- Check the propane level. Barbecues use more gas in winter.
- Always check inside your barbecue. In winter, small rodents sometimes hide under the grates.
- Use a tray and avoid going out and coming back in repeatedly; you’ll save on your heating bill.
- Pre-heat your barbecue longer. The colder the weather, the more time is needed to reach the proper temperature. And avoid opening the lid unnecessarily.
- Try using a Bluetooth thermometer to keep an eye on cooking temperatures from the warmth and comfort of your home!
If you’re thinking about bringing your barbecue closer to the house, make sure to comply with the safety rules of your municipality or building.