white birch trees, red twig dogwood and other winter interest shrubs

Winter Interest in Your Garden

Is your landscape looking a little drab now that the leaves have fallen and you’ve put your garden beds to sleep for the winter? Now is a good time to look around your neighborhood and envision how you could liven up your garden for next winter.

While evergreen trees are important for winter interest, there are many other ways to bring beauty to your yard. Colorful berries and foliage, ornamental grasses, tree bark with interesting textures, and trees and shrubs of varying shapes and sizes all contribute to year-round visual appeal.

There are lots of options for designing with winter in mind. Here are some native plants we love that are both easy to find and easy to grow:



multi-colored red twig dogwood branches
Red twig dogwood for its brightly colored branches
yellow witch hazel flowers against snowy landscape
Witch hazel for its yellow flowers
winterberry shrub in winter
Winterberry for its big, red berries and ability to attract birds


Consider also the underlying structure of your yard. Do the bare branches of your trees and shrubs create interesting shapes? How might stonework support ice and snow to form beautiful sculptures?




Switchgrass welcomes winter wildlife with cover and year-round color
frosted purple coral bell foliage
Coral bells- check out the newer varieties
magenta lenten rose covered in snow
Hellebore- blooms in late winter (not a native)

More winter plant ideas here!


river birch trees with snowy backdrop
River birch has beautiful, curling, paper-like bark


Cover photo from Garden Design Magazine by Richard Bloom.