All Seasons Gardening: Planting for Year Round Color

The abundance of flowers in spring and summer is something we all love. After a long, dreary winter, it’s a joy to see so many vibrant colors in our gardens. Even the fall can boast about its harvest hues and beautiful colors.

However, gardens often find themselves without water during cooler seasons, so there is not as much color in them. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You might not be able to enjoy flowers during the winter, depending on where you live. However, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for no color. Use this guide to learn how to add year-round color to your garden by considering every component of the plant.


Although leaves are often overlooked in gardens, they should not be forgotten. You should look for plants whose leaves are colors other than green. Many trees have chartreuse, maroon red, purple, and even variegated shades of white leaves.

Bark & Stems

Even if you don’t find any flowers or leaves on your trees or flowers, interesting bark and vibrant stems can add a lot of interest to your garden. Some types of bark are rough and smooth, while others are more papery. One example of a plant with vibrant stems is the red twig dogwood plant which is known for its flaming branches.

Evergreens remain green throughout the year, regardless of the weather. For example, evergreen trees and shrubs provide excellent structure in gardens. Although they may not be the stars of the garden, they offer a steady green backdrop that works for every garden. You can think of boxwoods, yaupons, pines, and loropetalums. Learn what evergreens are native or well-adapted to your area before planting.


If you live in a warmer gardening zone and have access to flowering plants throughout the year, it is worth making a list and studying when they bloom. Although it’s tempting to plant all of your spring-flowering perennials and bulbs at once, you will be happier later if you have plants and flowers that bloom throughout the year.

Other Factors to Consider

There are a lot of responsibilities that come with planting for all-year colors. Your garden’s fate can be affected by weather conditions like rain, wind, and temperature. It’s a great way to ensure that your hard work pays off year after year by knowing the weather patterns in your area. You will likely be familiar with these conditions if you have lived in the area for a while. However, if you recently moved to an area with a different climate, it is a good idea to do some research before planting.


You should always consider the possibility of wind damage in your garden design. Consider including windbreaks like a collection of trees around your property to reduce wind strength. Also, use wind-tolerant plants in your garden beds, and apply a thick layer of mulch to protect your plants from wind damage, moisture loss, and erosion.


Know how much rain you get per year and the times of year that it is most likely. Use Austin, Texas, and Seattle, Washington, for reference. It would seem that the average rainfall amounts of these two cities would be quite different. One is located in the rainy Pacific Northwest, while the other is at the edge of the dry Southwest. However, on average, Austin receives 3 inches more in rainfall than Seattle does a year. This is because Seattle gets rain 92 days per year, while Austin only gets it on 50. This means that the plant choices in these two places are very different, despite having similar average annual rainfall.


The climates with mild winters and scorching summers are more welcoming to plants than the northern regions. For example, Agaves won’t live long in Connecticut or Vermont. You can identify which plants prefer which season by looking at the average temperatures for each month. For example, although pansies are winter plants, they are also a springtime favorite.


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