by Bruce Allentuck, Allentuck Landscaping Co.
Winter may seem like the perfect time to take a vacation from your garden but, if used wisely, it can be an important time to lay down the ground work for making vast improvements. Just as plants are dormant and preparing to burst forth in the spring, the same applies to us gardeners.
A Time To Think About The Landscape
During the warmer seasons we are busy with the day to day activities of growing our gardens; mulching, weeding, planting and pruning. In winter, we have time to clear our minds, breath, look around and gather ideas. It is a perfect time to consider how we want our gardens to look in the spring, summer and fall without distraction. We have time to look through magazines, visit other gardens or peruse Houzz.com for new ideas and innovations. Take some photographs, do some sketching or simply consider ideas with a fresh and relaxed mind.
A Time To See The Landscape
Winter is also a great time to really see the garden for what it is. Without leaves and flowers, the skeleton, or very structure of the garden is revealed. One can see how the shadows move throughout the day, how the lines of site are and where there really is room for improvement. Take a stroll through your garden at different times of the day and from different directions to see the garden in a new light. Then, consider what additions and changes you would like to make.
A Time To Discover The Landscape
Lastly, consider some of the issues you may discover by spending time in your garden. Are there unsightly things that can be screened with evergreens? Is there a drainage problem that must be solved? Is there an evergreen tree blocking the sun that could be warming your house? Now is a wonderful time to investigate and solve these issues.
Engage A Professional Landscaper
A seasoned gardener can probably accomplish all of this with some effort. For best results that last, it may be time to bring in a professional landscaper, someone who does this stuff every day. Landscape design, plantings and construction can be costly. If not done correctly, it can be even more costly to fix.
Time spent now considering improvements and solving weaknesses will pay big dividends come springtime. With ideas in hand and problems corrected, the only thing left to do in the spring is to enjoy your garden at its finest.
Bruce Allentuck is president of Allentuck Landscaping Co., a residential landscape contractor in Montgomery County, Maryland. He is the father of three daughters and is an ultra endurance athlete.