How to Design Your Winter Garden

If your winter garden is more wasteland than wonderland, you certainly aren’t alone. For many, winter means retreating into the house for three months. On cold, rainy days, we can forgive the urge to hibernate!

However, winter has its moments. When the sun comes out and the air is cold, it is hugely beneficial to have a lovely spot to wrap up warm and go to. Just ask the Scandinavians.


Design Your Winter Garden – And Get Ready to Wrap Up!


Studies have shown that the Norwegians, for example, have far lower incidents of vitamin D deficiency than other countries with similar climates. This is thought to be down to a mix of eating more fish and spending more time outdoors, even when the weather is rough.

We asked our resident Dane in the office, and she confirmed that her parents will have a BBQ all year round, come rain, snow or shine. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So with that in mind, let’s investigate how to dress up your winter garden and make it a beautiful place to spend time in, whatever the weather brings this winter.


winter garden design


1) Start with Somewhere to Sit


No matter what the weather is, you might find it less appealing to spend time in the garden if you haven’t got a comfy seat. Clean up the garden bench, or get yourself a seat that you like. The easier it is to pop out with your cuppa and a cushion, the more you will do it!


2) Cover Up


If you have the budget and you are building your winter wonderland in a rainy spot, then consider a little shelter from the weather. With a shed, you could keep chairs, blankets and candles close to hand.

If not, what about a summer house? Renamed as the winter hut, of course! For more ideas on what to stock it with, check out point 4.

No space for a covered patio, a shed, or a roof over your head? Buy yourself a warm winter jacket and find a corner sheltered by the wind.


winter garden design



3) Plan for Winter Colour


Think evergreens of all shapes and sizes, as well as hardy, but colourful plants. Pansies and Violas will grow happily as bedding plants or in containers and baskets. Just make sure you keep on top of the dead-heading.

Primroses are now able to produce flowers from the middle of winter, whilst specially selected Wallflower types will bring their flowers in autumn, too!

Go for a mix and try container planting, too, if you’re still sussing out where things will grow best in your garden, then container planting gives you the flexibility to move things around as the garden and seasons change.

If you haven’t already, then check out our post on preparing your garden for winter before you so much as consider buying new plants!


4) Make it Hygge


Hygge is an untranslatable Danish word, but we’ll try to sum it up if you haven’t already read one of the many books on the subject! It is part state-of-mind, part surroundings. It is feeling safe, warm (even when it’s cold outside), and spending time catching up with loved ones.

Get a stack of cosy blankets ready by the back door or in your winter hut. Make sure you have a teapot or coffee pot to bring outside on crisp but clear days. Embrace the early darkness with lanterns and candlelight. Even half an hour a day outdoors can boost your mood.

With a tray, teapot, mugs, blankets and a good book or two, you are ready to entertain yourself or others in your winter wonderland. Perhaps lay out the jacket, hat and scarf, too!



winter garden design types of grasses

5) Choose a mix of Hardy Grasses


If you’re not feeling green-fingered enough to tend to winter blooms, then don’t underestimate the beauty of the humble, ornamental grass. Japanese Silver Grass can thrive even in challenging conditions, as well as Reed Grass, Northern Sea Oats and Japanese Sedge. For extra colour, consider Blue Lily Turf, Blue Fescue, or the eye-catching Tatarian Dogwood.


6) Consider a Fire Pit


A fire-pit or outdoor stove is a truly magical focal point for any garden. From toasting marshmallows to lighting sparklers on Bonfire Night, a fire pit is the source of many beautiful evenings spent outdoors. If it can be dreamed, it can be done.


winter garden design fire pit



7) Clean Up the Deck


If you already have a beautiful deck space, then make it as welcoming in winter as in summer. Clean up the chairs and table and consider covering them so they are ready to use when the weather is being kind.

If need be, varnish it and give it some TLC. We swear by the fantastic Cuprinol range.

If you are planning a deck, then consider anti-slip decking. Ours is specially designed to withstand the slip-hazard caused by downpours and provide a softer landing for any kids who manage to take a tumble.

Once the deck is ready for winter, dedicate a basket or box just inside the back door with all the hygge essentials we mentioned above!


8) Welcome the Wildlife


If you think winter is tough for you, then take a moment to think about the hardy wee bugs and birds who live in your frosty garden.

There are so many beautiful options for bird feeders and baths that they can be as minimalistic or design-centred as you like. We recently featured a guest post from Green&Blue, who make beautiful little bee bricks for solitary bees to shelter in when it gets colder.

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