The fall season in Northeast Ohio is beautiful. The leaves transition through numerous colors of red, yellow, orange and more. Once they fall to the ground, though, it’s a much different story. The most common colors NE Ohioans see is white and brown. How can you brighten up your garden and landscape this winter? Here’s a few ideas to enhance your yard during the winter season:

Evergreens - A well designed Northeast Ohio landscape should have at least 75% of the plants as evergreen. When we say that, it does not simply mean a landscape full of spruce and pine, although they have their place in it. Evergreens can mean needled plants including the aforementioned or the softer needled Hemlock and False-cypress varieties (photo left). Many groundcovers such as Vinca or Pachysandra provide year round green carpeting when we get the many melts and thaws throughout the winter. They also help establish a lower maintenance yard. Interesting broadleaf evergreen shrubs such as Rhododendron, Azalea, Boxwood, Holly (also have showy berries) or Pieris (shown below) should be a big part of your landscape for winter show.

Pieris japonica ‘Mt. Fire’ – Mt. Fire Japanese Andromeda - This evergreen is a prolific producer of drooping white flower clusters. The hardiness zone for this plant is 5-8, which falls right into the NE Ohio area. The new growth of this plant is a fiery red which matures into a deep green. It’s an average size plant, slowly growing to 6 to 10 feet, and does best in partial sun / partial shade.

Plants with Winter Interest - Many plants that don’t hold their leaves can still provide stunning winter interest. A good designer will consider four season color and interest in any Northeast Ohio landscape design.

Hammamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ – Jelena Witchazel - This shrub has coppery-orange flowers that bloom in January or February. If room permits, it can be a nice shrub near walkways and entryways because it gives off a sweet fragrance. The flowers have wavy, thin petals that appear on bare branches. In the fall, the flowers are more red-orange. It grows best in zones 5-8.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ – Midwinter Fire Bloodtwig Dogwood – Hard to beat for winter color in the outskirt or perimeter of the yard. Gold branches in the center radiate to burning red tips. It’s spectacular against the snowy backdrop. Leaves are bright green, turning gold & orange in fall. Grows 5-6’.
A well thought out design with some of these above mentioned different and beautiful plants will give your landscape the splashes of color it needs during the dreary winter. Be sure to contact our experts if you have any questions about these plants or any other winter landscaping issues!