Winter Doesn’t Have to Be Drab and Grey

January 8, 2022
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Winter is so grey.

Most of the trees have shed their leaves and are showing only the pewter and cinnamon shades of their bark. The grass is faded to a bleached olive drab — when it’s not covered by snow, that is. And the slush and the salt stains only highlight how wintry it is. With the sun rising so late and setting so early, we feel the pain of these shortened days in our mood, which seems to be reflected in how nature looks.

So you could argue that it’s even more important to have colorful trees and bushes in the winter than it is in the summer. The summer is vibrant all by itself. Winter needs all the help it can get.

Add a little winter color to your northern VA landscape.

There are many different avenues with which you can add a pop of color to your home landscaping. You can install shrubs and trees with colorful stems, you can plant bushes that produce colorful fruit that lasts all winter, or you can plant winter-blooming varieties which will produce flowers in the darkest time of year. Stepping away from adding life, you can consider mulches and colorful stones to add dimension, too.

Colorful Stems and Bark

For multi-season color, any number of maples are good. Japanese maples, for instance, are often very fiery in the winter, as well as the rest of the year. There is also the redbark cherry, which has, as the name suggests, very attractive red bark in paperbark birch patterns. As the tree matures, it looks a bit like it has tiger stripes.

If you’re not looking so much for bright colors but simply want to add some interest to the landscape, Japanese Stewartia (also known as Deciduous Camellia) is an ornamental tree that has a very distinctive bark that looks like a brown camouflage pattern.


In a similar vein, you can consider adding trees that add color to your landscaping through their leaves and flowers. The previous section talked about colorful stems and bark, which will always add color to your landscaping; however, the leaves of the tree itself can add color. Evergreen trees are a must in your yard, as they never lose their leaves. That means that once you plant the tree, you will see color in all four months. Adding an evergreen tree to your landscaping is a simple, yet effective, method of ensuring that you avoid those grey, dreary stems, and protect your family’s privacy throughout even the winter months.

Colorful Berries

In addition to the benefit of winter color, these fruiting bushes will bring all sorts of wildlife to your yard to enjoy its bounty. Evergreen Holly is a very common choice in Northern Virginia. The Evergreen Holly is, obviously, an evergreen plant, so it will maintain its green leaves all year long. But there are a number of holly varieties. Some, like Winterberry, lose their leaves and only stems full of popping red berries remain. The beauty of the Winterberry is that it can grow even in shadier conditions, such as during winter months.

Winter-Blooming Bushes

When you start looking, it’s surprising how many plants actually do bloom in the winter. For starters, there’s the pussy-willow. Those little doe-foot tip are all flowers. Sure, they don’t catch the eye that well, but no one can argue they aren’t attractive.

The Leatherleaf Mahonia, also known as grapeholly, is a fairly tall perennial (I would hesitate to call it a bush.) that produces yellow bell-like clusters of flowers in late winter. These flowers eventually convert to fruit, offering food for the birds early in the year. Other grapehollys come in different colors, but the leatherleaf is perhaps the hardiest.

Colored Mulches

If we look below the colored flowering, green leaves, and winter-blooming bushes, we can see an opportunity for color in the mulch we select. We offer many colors of mulch, ranging from traditional brown mulches to red mulches. It seems counterintuitive to consider mulches as opportunities to add color to your landscaping, but they are largely and underutilized resource. Consider a grape holly, which we talked about earlier. Below this grape holly might be a boring brown colored mulch, or we can accent the landscaping with a nearly-black hardwood mulch. Perhaps you have a tree with dark green leaves, so you want lighter-colored pine wood chips providing some base covering.

Colorful Stones

Another underutilized method of adding color and life to your landscaping during dreary winter months is stone and gravel! Naturally occurring stones come in a variety of different shapes, colors, and sizes, and can be mix-and-matched to best suit your home’s landscaping. Consider a 3/4” Red Rock that will add a splash of pink to your yard. Washed River Stone comes in a light brown or tan color that has a variety of brown shades, adding warmth to your yard. Maybe you want more traditional silver or grey rocks that will still add another dimension to your yard in the winter months, so you may want to consider the Delaware River Jacks. Whatever look you are trying to achieve, we have the stones for you!

Take it from the #1 trusted Northern VA landscaping company:

Once you start thinking about how you can liven up your winter garden, you’ll find it isn’t very hard at all with the help of the best landscape supply company in the area.