12 Ways to Enjoy Your Garden This Winter

The cold weather may curb your enthusiasm for the outdoors, but there is still plenty of pleasure to be taken from a garden, even after your favorite plants have gone dormant. Check out our favorite ways to enjoy the garden in winter.

  1. Plant Winter Veggies

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    plant winter vegetables

    Just because the weather has gotten chilly doesn’t mean you can’t still grow things—and bring them to the dinner table. Many vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage actually taste better after having been exposed to frost. 

    Related: How To: Grow Fresh Produce from Your Leftover Groceries

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  2. Feed the Wildlife

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    feeding animals in winter

    Though the leaves of many plants are dead in winter, there’s still life teeming in the garden. Attract winter wildlife to your property by putting out feeders with seed and suet for birds, and dried corncobs for squirrels and chipmunks. The local fauna will also appreciate a birdbath or some other container filled with water. Just be sure to melt the ice daily with a little hot water, or poke a hole in the ice so animals can get access.

    Related: 8 Ways to Combat Garden Pests

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  3. Put in Evergreens

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    evergreens in winter

    Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees, and if you choose evergreens like holly, juniper, pine, cedar, and fir, you will enhance your garden all year long, but especially in winter when color is at such a premium.

    Related: 10 Colorful Shrubs for a Standout Winter Garden

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  4. Do a Little Maintenance

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    winter garden care

    When you’re in the thick of the growing season, it’s hard to stop and organize your garden shed, or sharpen your mower blades. Take advantage of the downtime winter brings to take on some of those maintenance tasks you just can’t seem to fit in when the weather is nicer. It's very satisfying to enter spring fully prepared!

    Related: 11 Things to Do Now for Your Best-Ever Backyard

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  5. Start Planning!

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    plan garden

    There’s nothing more exciting for a gardener than the arrival of that first seed catalog in late winter. That’s the time to start dreaming about and planning what you want to plant in the coming season. Start plotting out your garden spaces, and ordering seeds and summer bulbs.

    Related: Done With Winter? 12 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Spring

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  6. Prune Shrubs and Trees

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    pruning in winter

    Avid gardeners know that it’s not just what you see in a garden that makes it rewarding—it’s what you can do. Activity in the garden definitely wanes during the cooler months, but you can still get out there and have fun pruning fruit trees, vines, deciduous shrubs, and ornamental trees.

    Related: The 10 Best Buys to Make Yard Work No Work

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  7. Make Ice Luminaries

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    make ice luminaries

    Winter days mean darkness falls sooner. Add a little glow to your garden in wintertime by making a few ice luminaries. This is a simple, inexpensive, and eye-catching DIY project.

    Related: 12 Easy Ways to Create Curb Appeal in Winter

    Instructables via mazzmn

  8. Plant Container Gardens

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    winter hardy container plants

    Ground that’s been hardened by frost is not easy to plant in. If you’ve got the planting itch, though, you can always put together a beautiful container to place on your porch or patio, or in the yard. Plants like wintergreen, carex, Skimmia ‘Rubella,’ ajuga, and hardy sedums are all good choices for winter containers.

    Related: Liven Up Your Winter Porch with 8 Cold-Loving Plants

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  9. Use Berry Bushes for Color

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    berry bushes

    Keep all four seasons in mind when choosing plants and shrubs for your landscaping. Shrubs like winterberry, Nandina domestica, firethorn, and American beautyberry not only bring a profusion of colorful berries to your garden in winter, they also provide food for birds and other animals, which are beautiful to look out at as well.

    Related: 8 No-Care Plants for Killer Curb Appeal in Every Season

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  10. Learn to Love Seed Heads

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    seed heads for winter

    Many ornamental grasses and other plants have interesting seed heads that will—if you avoid cutting them back—add dimension to a winter landscape. They will also provide food for birds and other wildlife, which will create another layer of interest in your yard. 

    Related: 19 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks

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  11. Decorate

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    winter curb appeal

    Add twinkle lights, wreaths, or lawn ornaments to your landscaping in the winter to bring some sparkle to those cold winter days and dark winter nights.

    Related: 14 Inventive Ideas for a Perfect Porch

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  12. Choose Plants with Colorful Structure or Winter Blooms

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    winter blooms

    Many shrubs and trees have colorful branches, textured bark, or winter flowers, all of which provide great interest in the garden in the "off season." Red twig dogwood, with its bright red branches, or witch hazel, with its burst of bright yellow blossoms in December, are two good choices.

    Related: 9 of the Best Shrubs for Any Garden

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  13. Get Gardening

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    Get Gardening

    There are lots of ways to enjoy your garden, even in the cold, winter weather.

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