Most people wait until spring to even THINK about improving their yards and they look pretty incredulous when I tell them that NOW is the best time to do the major things to your garden. That's because with our mild winters (and getting milder), you can do almost anything now that you could do during the growing season, but without the mosquitoes and sweat.
Personally, I prefer doing hard work when temperatures are below sweat level and bugs are long gone, so this time of year I'm busy moving dirt, rocks, and plants around the garden. (Okay, when it's below 40 and especially when the ground is frozen I stay indoors; I'm no masochist.)
But the BEST jobs to do now - or have done FOR you - is all the exciting landscape improvements that involve hardscape. Like patios, retaining walls, outdoor fireplaces and PONDS! Here's why winter is the best time to do these big jobs (or hire someone to do them for you):
- With all the leaves gone, it's easier to see the bones of your garden and decide what it needs. That's true for new, barren gardens or renovations of old ones.
- Thanks to slowdown in business experienced by the landscaping business every winter, the designers and crews are available now, usually with no wait, and often at reduced rates. (Homestead's Landscaping Department is offering 10% off all hardscape installations if completed before March.)
- The work will be done in time for spring, when you really want to be gardening. You'll be gloating at neighbors who waited until spring to even begin the process and can't enjoy their garden until mid-summer.
- And while this is the best time to install hardscape, the bigger point is that most gardens really, really need some. Paths and patios and water features and fireplaces are the elements that make a garden not just more beautiful but usable. And that's the point, right?
For a bit of inspiration, here's a few photos of hardscape elements from some fabulous gardens around the country. And take a look around your own garden, imagining it with a new patio, walkway, retaining wall, fireplace, driveway, or pond.
Fireplace photo credit. All other photos by Susan Harris.