For most people who live in wintry areas, their backyards and gardens tend to look sadder when the snow arrives. Lawn grass goes dormant and bright colors fritter away, leaving behind a palette of white and grey colors. There are not a lot of things you can do to regain the lost shine of your backyard; however, there are a few winter landscaping ideas and tips that can lead to a beautiful landscape for the rest of the season.
Here are some winter landscaping tips that will make you fall in love with your backyard every winter:
- Clean everything up
First and most importantly, you need to tidy things up. It is extremely important that you do not leave out any toys, leaves, or debris out on the lawn. These things can invite damaging pests like insects and mice, create disease conditions, or smother the grass.
Since no one expects you to have a winter garden to be blooming with bright colors, you need to start tidying away compost heaps and neat beds; having spare pots is a must! Make sure that you clear the lawn of everything after you mow it for the last time of the year. You can also make occasional sweeps every couple of weeks in the winter season as well.
Leaving things behind on the grass during the snowfall and cold weather can possibly create dead spots because of the object’s weight. In the next spring season, the growth of grasses on that particular area will be stunted and will be thinner than the rest of the backyard.
Most homeowners make the mistake of assigning a final date for mowing. While some grasses, like the warm season grass, will go dormant and stop growing once the cold season sets in, cool-season grasses like the fescue and bluegrass will continue to grow at a slower pace until the ground freezes.
Hence, you need to maintain a 10-14 days mowing schedule until then. You can make use of tools and equipment like powered snow blower to dust off the snow from the grass and cut them. The average cutting height of the grasses should be at a minimum.
By doing this, you will be minimizing any type of lawn litter like leaves so that they do not smother the lawn area. Additionally, the short height of the grass will reduce the occurrences of fungus damage during the snow.
Aeration is the simple process of opening up the soil and promoting better airflow for the roots of the grasses. Whether you opt for the slicing type of coring style aeration, this work only needs to be done once in a while or when one or both of the following criteria is met.
One criterion is that the soil is prone to compaction because of thatch from lawn clippings and the litter exceeds more than ½-inch deep; the other is excessive traffic. Other than these, aeration at any other time is a waste of money and time.
- Fertilizing in winter
Early winter or late fall are the best times to fertilize cool-season grass. If your lawn is made up of grasses like bluegrass or Bermuda, it is a safe bet that your lawn is ready for its winter makeover.
However, before the first snowflakes hit the ground, you need to give your lawn thorough fertilization. This needs to be done to replace all the nutrients that are lost from the soil during the previous summer months. Once the weather gets cold enough, the fertilizer will remain in the soil and provide the nutrients needed by your plants and grass to survive the winter months.
Once spring arrives, you will see that the grass and plants in your backyard are all green, lush and healthy, thanks to the nutrients from the fertilizers.
- Focus on the bark of the trees
Of course, it is a known fact that deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter season; only the trunks and barks are left in focus. If you have great ornamental trees with visually-aesthetic barks, it can add interest to your backyard.
Most of these small shrubs and trees are small, which means that they are easier to find spots for in the wintry setting. Some crowd favorites include birch trees and dogwoods, great for both color and texture.
- Remove the fallen leaves
The winter season means the removal or mulching of leaves. Yes, it is one of the most time-consuming tasks for an average homeowner. However, the more you spend time in removing the leaves and keep them from smothering the grass, the more worth it will be. All your efforts will be repaid in the form of a backyard free of dried fallen leaves.
Perhaps the easiest way to remove the leaves from your backyard is to collect them in a single spot and then removing them. However, you need to keep a consistent check on them so make sure they have not spread over your backyard again. The time and effort it is going to take will depend on the experience and equipment that you have.
- Adding a touch of color
You can add some color in your snow-covered backyard with the help of window boxes and containers. You can also make use of winter-flowering plants like violas, cyclamen, and pansies. Shrubs can also be used to add greenery to the white landscape.
Mostly, people tend to bring in their garden furniture during the winter months. Hence, part of your patio can look bare and unloved. You can check the weather forecast to know the weather conditions and whether it is possible to bring the furniture outside to fill the empty spaces.
Often, winters are quite unpredictable and might put your backyard or lawn through some extreme conditions. The best thing you can do is to ensure the grass hardens off after you settle the lawn bed properly with the tips mentioned above. After that, you can concentrate on clearing the sidewalks and do other snow-related activities like building snowmen.