Landscape Design for Fall and Winter Colour


Winter interest provided by seedheads

Landscape Design for Fall and Winter Colour


Today I had the privilege of doing a fall clean up in one of the first gardens that I designed.  It is a mixed shrub and perennial border that surrounds a large backyard on 3 sides.  The landscape is in its fourth year and beginning to show some real maturity.  Gardening at this time of year underscores how important it is to plan for fall and winter colour.

I usually begin a garden design with winter in mind.  On the West Coast it is the dreariest season yet most gardeners seem to forget to include winter interest plants in their plantings.

The black seedheads of Echinacea show up against the golden grass in the background. Chickadees will be all over these seeds in winter.



Plants do not need to have berries, winter flowers, or evergreen foliage to be considered winter interest.  Many summer flowering plants provide interesting seed heads or structural beauty late into the winter.  I encourage my clients to cut back plants only when they start to look messy.  Allowing plants to remain standing into winter will also reward us with the added benefit of providing birds with food and shelter.

Rudbeckia fulgida x Goldsturm seed heads contrast with the red stems of Cornus Ivory Halo.

Often my clients will say that they want lots of colour in there garden:  I would argue that brown, tan, gold are colours too and they suit the low light levels of winter perfectly.  Hydrangea Annabelle is a great example of this.  While the huge white blossoms are outstanding, the tan coloured flowers  have a wonderful appearance in winter too.

Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle has huge white flowers in summer. These tawny seed heads last into late winter.


  1. Nice choice of plants!

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