If you want a beautiful property year-round, you need to plan with four seasons landscaping in mind. Why? So for every season, you have color and visual interest in your landscape design.
Summer is easy because the grass is green, the trees are lush, and annuals and perennials are blooming in your gardens. Fall is pretty as the leaves on the trees and shrubs change color, and fall flowers such as chrysanthemums can brighten a dreary November day. Winter is a little harder, as colors turn to muted grays and browns, with the occasional white snowfall. Spring is muddy and brown for a while until the first flowers start poking out and the trees start budding.
But if you don’t plan ahead, you won’t have those spring or summer colors other than green, and winter will just look a bit depressing. But what if we told you that by utilizing four seasons landscaping, you can have a beautiful view all year long?
Plants, Trees, and Shrubs for Four Seasons Landscaping
It all starts with careful landscape design. You don’t want everything blooming all at once, and you need textural and vertical interest as well. Below we list some plants, trees, and shrubs for four seasons landscaping.
Plants include flowers, ground cover, and ornamental grasses, to name a few.
You’ll want to plan on having masses of spring bulbs to cheer you up as early as January, depending on the weather. Crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips come to mind. Remember for the best results, you’ll plant the bulbs in autumn. You may also want to consider planting flowering groundcover plants with evergreen foliage.
For summer color, think annuals and perennials, as well as ornamental grasses. All of these come in a tremendous variety of colors. Perennials and ornamental grasses will come back year after year, while most annuals will last just one season. You may want to consider putting annuals in pots and window boxes and utilize perennials and grasses in your gardens.
When you plant perennials and ornamental grasses, plant some that last well into September and even October. Add some chrysanthemums for a pop of color. And you may want to consider leaving perennials such as purple coneflowers in your garden without cutting them back. This can attract a number of birds to your yard, including goldfinches.
OK, so you don’t plant anything in winter, but if you thought ahead, you have some evergreen ground cover. Shrubs and trees are where you can get winter color in your landscape.
2. Trees and Shrubs
When you choose trees and shrubs for your landscape design, there are a lot of things to consider. Deciduous or evergreen? Flowering or not? Winter interest? Trees and shrubs give your landscaping structure, as well as four-season interest. You may want to check out the Maryland Department of Natural Resources tree suggestions for some ideas.
For trees and shrubs, you will always want to have some evergreens in the mix, so that everything isn’t entirely brown and grey come wintertime. But of course, you also want some shade trees to help cool your yard and home come summertime. Choose deciduous trees and shrubs with four seasons landscaping in mind, and you will be happy you did.
Examples of this include flowering trees, which then leaf out for summer, with leaves that turn an interesting color in fall. If they have an unusual bark, that gives them winter interest. Trees that bear fall or winter fruit, such as holly trees or winterberry, are another option.
One of our favorite shrubs for four-season interest is the red twig dogwood. In spring, you will have small clusters of white blossoms, as the cream and green variegated leaves first open. In summer, the leaves fill in. Then in autumn, the leaves may pick up hints of rose or gold, before the shrub drops all the leaves. Winter is when you really understand out this shrub got its name. The bark of the branches and twigs is a bright red in the winter. It’s absolutely stunning against the backdrop of new fallen snow.
If you plan it right, not only will you have plenty of shade trees to keep you cool during the summer, but you will have planted one or more summer blooming trees, such as crape myrtle. You may be spending time under your trees, so consider specimens with interesting bark, as well.
Fall is when deciduous trees can really shine. If the weather is right, fall color can be beautiful. Choose trees whose leaves turn brilliant gold, red, and orange. Maples, oaks, and other hardwoods are prime examples. For shrubs, Viburnum, Virginia sweetspire, and Euonymus alatus, more commonly known as burning bush, can really brighten up your landscape.
We mentioned before the importance of evergreens for winter interest, and the red twig dogwood as a favorite. Other trees and shrubs that provide winter beauty include witch hazel, inkberry, winterberry, and staghorn sumac.
Hire a Professional Landscaping Company to Do It Right
Hiring a professional landscaping company is the easiest way to do four seasons landscaping right. A good landscape design company will be an expert in helping you choose plants, trees, and shrubs with four season interest that will also do well in your location. They will also select the right place to plant, taking sun, size at full growth, drainage, soil type, and more into consideration.
Get recommendations from neighbors, family, and coworkers. Do your research, and hire a firm that has been in business for a number of years. You’ll be happy you left the back-breaking labor of digging holes for trees and shrubs to the pros!