PatioZen is a weekly feature where OutsideModern looks for some of the most striking patios and gardens, and their designers, around a theme. This week’s theme is winter gardens.
Everybody thinks about gardens in the summertime, when the flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining, warmth is everywhere, and the gardens are at their peak. But that’s not the only magical time in a garden. Winter gardens can be quite beautiful, though there is much less emphasis on greenery, and more on the hardscaping, lighting, and the way dormant plants look in the snow.
Desolation and quiet are the primary emotions drawn from winter gardens, but whimsy is also a frequent participant.
In many parts of the world, plants spend over half of their lives in dormancy, and many areas are covered by a blanket of snow for a significant portion of the year.
Gardeners should consider how their gardens fare in winter, as much of the time spent staring out at the garden may be during the colder months. A few clever ideas may turn the winter garden from a bland space into a mystical treasure.
Let us look at several magical winter garden photos, and contemplate their content.
- 1 California Winter Garden
- 2 Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Garden
- 3 Snow Covered Winter Garden With Steps
- 4 Red Bridge in Frozen Japanese Garden
- 5 Geometric Forms Under Snow
- 6 Symmetry in the Snowy Garden
- 7 Freak Out at Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Winter
- 8 Snowy Garden with Topiary in Winter
- 9 A Cheerful Bench in Winter Snow
- 10 Creative Winter Garden Lighting
California Winter Garden
We will ease into the winter gardens with this beautiful Californian winter garden. There is no snow in this photo, and still a good deal of plant life to be found, but the plants are moving in the direction of dormancy, and the overall look is one of simplicity.
Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Garden
A winding snow-covered pathway is punctuated by fingers of deep red plants, jutting into the air as they slumber through the winter. The simple wooden bench, offering respite to the weary, faces the winter sun.
Snow Covered Winter Garden With Steps
This beautiful winter garden, with its stone slab stairs surrounded by spindly dormant plants, all covered in a gentle coating of snow, is magnificent.
A wind chime would be wonderful in this space, to bring some calming noises as well.
Red Bridge in Frozen Japanese Garden
This stunning Japanese garden shows how a small bit of color can become amplified when snow blankets the landscape. The beautiful, strong red of the arched bridge projects powerfully on the relatively-colorless surrounding area.
It is hard to imagine that a more welcoming winter stroll could be found than through this garden.
Geometric Forms Under Snow
This snow-covered garden is located at the California School of Garden Design and is quite interesting when photographed from above. The geometric shapes of the hardscape are simultaneously softened by the snow, and strengthened by the dark outlines of the walls beneath.
The angular design is accentuated by the monochromatic snow, and the brush-covered wooden arbor creates a desolate, beautiful pass.
Symmetry in the Snowy Garden
The symmetry of this topiary is obscured and suppressed somewhat by the piles of snow that have gathered in different areas. The underlying geometry is still there, and the contrast of the white snow on the dark green leaves is magical.
Again, the sculptural and hardscaped portions of the garden take center stage in the winter time.
Freak Out at Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Winter
Ok, so Atlanta doesn’t get much snow. And having Dale Chihuly sculptures to work with is totally cheating. But this incredible scene shows what is possible with some imaginative lighting and some creative sculptural elements.
We hope they were playing some Jefferson Airplane while this event was happening!
Snowy Garden with Topiary in Winter
The rhythm of this topiary is amplified by the slight coating of frost, and the stone garden features blend into the scene, while also creating hard lines among the soft snow.
A Cheerful Bench in Winter Snow
The cheerful blue bench and circular arch create a fascinating vignette in this design from the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program. Again, small amounts of color on man-made objects supply a significant pop against the bleak, frozen landscape.
Creative Winter Garden Lighting
Much of the winter time is spent in darkness, so it seems appropriate to look at some creative winter garden lighting. The snowflakes are festive and are not over-done. Coupled with a small number of string lights surrounding the top tree limb of the natural arbor, the lights give a festive, whimsical feel to a chilly landscape.