8 ways gardens come alive in the dead of winter

Overview

Though the ground's now frozen and flower buds have long since been forgotten, your garden doesn't have to suffer a dreary winter fate. Some plants and flowers actually thrive in cooler temps, allowing you to infuse a bit of colour into an otherwise grey and brown landscape. Additionally, you can perk up your winter garden by employing a few tips and tricks that instantly give your backyard a much needed face lift.

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Decorative architecture

Decorative architecture adds instant personality to your back garden. Install architectural pieces during the early spring through autumn and then enjoy them year round. Decorative architecture includes fences, gates or entryways, in addition to statues and large, interestingly formed rocks.

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Winter shrubs

Plant a shrub--or three--in your garden that will withstand winter's frigid temperatures. Alternatively, plant an ornamental grass, such as the pink muhly, that tolerates winter weather.

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Hanging baskets

Instantly rejuvenate your winter garden with a hanging basket. You can hang the basket near your door, in the middle of the garden or anywhere you want to add colour. Hanging baskets are convenient because you can take them down and put them inside if temperatures drop too low. You can also fill them temporarily with faux flowers until spring.

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Winter-friendly vegetables

Take advantage of winter weather by planting edibles that thrive in cooler temperatures. The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems says that onions, garlic and leeks are all grown over the winter. Plant the seeds in fertile soil during mid to late autumn for best results.

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Herb garden

Many herbs also survive the decreased sunlight and cooler temperatures of winter. Such herbs include oregano, thyme, parsley, chives, chervil and various mints, says the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. To ensure a healthy harvest, make sure your herbs are mature before winter.

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Ornamental wood trees

If you're desperate for colour during the grey and blustery months, plant ornamental wood trees that fruit come winter. Try the "Sparkleberry" winterberry tree, pictured here, which fruits vibrant, tiny red berries.

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Decorative pots

Another way to instantly add colour and personality to a boring back garden is with decorative pots. Use them to house your herbs or winter edibles, small winter pines or just set them out empty in anticipation of spring.

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Invite wildlife

Install shelters and food to invite wildlife into your yard. Put up bird houses and bird feeders, or plants that provide spaces for nesting as well as food. Naturally, avoid pesticides and chemicals to create a safe environment for your back garden buddies.

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