Ottawa has one of the most challenging climates of any large North American city. But we all want to utilize our backyards not only for the warmer season but the colder ones. Sadly a lot of elements that brought to life during the warmer months simply couldn’t stand up to the rigors of winter. However, that doesn’t mean a 4 season design is impossible. So how is it possible to create a 4 season landscape for your Ottawa home?
- Utilize Firepits and Fireplaces – Firepits are a great way to introduce heat to the patio area, outdoor kitchen and, if it’s done properly, the deck as well. The firepit can become a centre of outdoor activity as the weather darkens and cools and provide unforgettable atmosphere on those cold, clear winter nights when there’s a new blanket of snow on the ground and the house is ablaze with holiday lights. Making sure your outdoor kitchen includes a covered area with a generous size fireplace is another way to keep the backyard open for business when the weather turns cold.
- Create a Winter Garden – A winter garden can keep your backyard landscape alive at a time when everyone else in the neighbourhood is giving up on theirs. Winter garden plants that will dazzle year round (along with the colours of their blossoms) include:
- Flowering Quince (red)
- Snowdrops (white)
- Winterberry (lipstick red)
- Witch Hazel (red and yellow)
- Camellia (red)
- Christmas Rose (white and green)
- Provide Cover – One of the simplest and best ways to extend your yard’s useful period into the cooler months is to provide cover for yourself and guests. Awnings, either fixed or retractable, will help trap any heat generated by a fire pit or activities related to an outdoor kitchen. Remember, heat rises. So creating a block for that rising heat in the form of an awning or even a covered pergola will go a long way toward making at least part of your backyard useful into colder months.
- Take Advantage of Foliage – Foliage happens. Why not have your Ottawa landscaping company take advantage of it? By the time the leaves have turned most folks have thrown in the towel on the yard until next spring. But you don’t have to. Extend the magic of fall foliage and keep your landscape alive by planting a variety of trees that display different colours and shed their leaves at different times. If you want to keep things green all year long plant a variety of pine, hemlock and fir trees, sprinkling in a few deciduous and flowering trees to create colourful accents during the spring and fall.
- Lighting – One relatively simple way to ensure your backyard landscaping doesn’t go into hibernation during the winter months is to install an outdoor LED lighting scheme. Outdoor lights can provide the much needed visual and thematic continuity that helps maintain interest in a yard even after the leaves have fallen and the first snows have moved in. One of the most difficult things for most people to deal with during the winter months is not the cold, but the dark. A well thought out backyard lighting scheme will not only provide the aesthetic benefits mentioned above it will also go a long way toward lifting the spirits of everyone in the house.
You own your property 12 months a year you should be able to use it 12 months a year. A landscape that includes a mix of deciduous and non-deciduous trees, lively winter gardens surrounding a heated pool, a semi-covered outdoor kitchen with fireplace and a hot tub, and all tied together with a tasteful, property-wide lighting scheme can attract as much attention in the fall, winter and spring as it does in the summertime, when the fish are jumping and the living is easy.