November 1, 2015

Deck the Yard for Holiday Festivities

The weather may feel colder on our faces when we step outside, but your home's landscape can be just as functional and beautiful in the winter as it is in the spring.

Now that the planting of fall annuals is complete – ornamental kale, pansies, snapdragons and violas – the holiday season is tugging at your shirttail. Now is the time to build on the momentum of fall and winter color to design a spectacular landscape for the upcoming holiday season.

It’s common deck the rooms inside your home before throwing open your doors to welcome your holiday guests. However, it’s equally important to decorate your landscape, as it’s the first thing your guests see when they pull into the driveway and helps to sets the tone for the festivities.

Our landscape design specialists at Morgan Landscape Group enjoy adding live cuttings like magnolia leaves, evergreen hollies with red berries like Burford Holly, green garlands and wreaths on windows and door surrounds, and wrapping trees in twinkling lights for the holiday season.

However, there's no reason your outdoor decor should stop at the front stoop. Use the outdoor living areas you enjoyed during the warmer seasons as focal points by adding lights or greenery, which can draw guests outdoors to a place of special ambiance. If you have a gazebo, it can make a statement in the winter months, too. The warmth of a fire in an outdoor fireplace or fire pit is practical and pretty when combined with lights, greenery and outdoor fabric. Rock gardens and water features become more pronounced, letting the hardscape shine during the colder months when blooming is less prolific. Another fun holiday addition is wrapping various sizes of spheres with lights and hanging them at differing heights from porches or tree branches. You can start with grapevines or chicken wire to form the spheres, or you can buy them pre-made.

In addition to winter-hardy annuals and holiday decorations, trees contribute interest to the winter landscape and can be spotlighted by appropriate lighting. Beautiful bark – like that on the white trunks of the sycamore tree, the deep red of Natchez crape myrtles, the exfoliated look of river birch, or the silvery-white majesty of the beech tree – add liveliness worthy of highlighting. The sculptural branches of some varieties such as the Chinese Fringe Tree encourage a lingering look in the winter months when diciduous varieties have lost their leaves.

Plus, holiday lights can be added to some perennials that exhibit interesting texture year-round. For example, consider lighting the slender stalks of ornamental grasses for an eye-catching effect.

You can also bring the outside in by clipping twigs, berries and leaves from established perennials such as Hydrangea blooms, Nandinas, Magnolias, Pines and native Eastern Red Cedars to enjoy their beauty and aroma inside your home, too.

The weather may feel colder on our faces when we step outside, but your home's landscape can be just as functional and beautiful in the winter as it is in the spring. A trifecta of colorful and textural plants, holiday decorations and illuminated hardscaping will enliven your landscape just in time for holiday entertaining.

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