Brighten the wintry landscape

With color, light and the right greenery

FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Leslie Ewing Kitch, an owner at Bruce Ewing Landscaping, hangs a seasonal wreath over an outdoor light, showing how to add color to the outside of a home as the grey days of winter approach.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Lanterns are popular in the fall and winter as landscape decor, displayed with greenery, ribbons and pine cones to add color and character.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Seasonal wreaths with a ribbon provide an eye-catching accent on a fence or a gate during the drab winter months. Landscape designers advise people who are able to go further to paint their fences, gates or front doors a bright color to brighten their landscapes year-round, too. The trend today is to design the outdoor space of your home as carefully as the interior spaces to maximize its attractiveness and your enjoyment of it.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Adding colorful berries to planter arrangements brings them into the seasonal decor plan.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS An assortment of pumpkins and colorful flowers, like these at Bruce Ewing Landscaping, brighten up a window box to delight people inside the home and outside.

There will be gray skies, dark mornings and drab evenings.

You can’t stop the weather. Winter is going to come here whether you like it or not, and while there may be some white here and there, there will be plenty of times when you’ll look outside and everything will just seem so blah.

But while you can’t control the weather, you can control your yard.

Your outdoor surroundings and landscaping do not have to reflect the weather; there are plenty of ways to brighten up your exterior to give yourself a little color when the dark and cold days nestle down upon us.

“I like the idea of freshening things up with a coat of paint,” says Leslie Ewing Kitch, one of the owners at Bruce Ewing Landscaping. “You can always freshen up what you have, especially with wreaths and greenery and garlands.”

One of the top suggestions HGTV.com has to brighten a landscape is digging out some paint brushes and adding some pop to your fences and gates so they stand out against the greying days — that is, unless you live in a community where fences are required to be painted a specific color.

You can also paint your exterior doors various reds or blues to stand out, maybe add a fire pit to your outside for a place to keep warm but still enjoy the night sky and add cool-weather blooms like camellias and hellebores to your garden or plant area, the website suggests.

As fall comes, Kitch’s company usually takes out the summer flowers for clients and replace them with bittersweet and chrysanthemums — and pumpkins as well. Right about this time, the bittersweet berries on vines are yellow, but they will turn orange when ripened, Kitch said.

Floral arrangements involving kale or dried hydrangeas also will add color to any setting.

Bright red winterberries are a very popular decoration this time of year, Kitch said, and go well with the Christmas season and beyond. Window boxes can be filled with pine cones and winterberries, or wreathes can be hung around lights near doors.

Red ribbons can be strung through fences and slung over the wreaths to add even more color. Winter shrubs like red cornus (common name: red osier dogwood) and hollies can be planted.

But it’s all about finding something that brightens your mood.

“If you spend a lot of time at your kitchen window, find something you enjoy,” Kitch said. “If you concentrate on your front door and your front windows, you can really brighten things up.”

And all of it can be done either naturally or artificially — you can find both at Bruce Ewing Landscaping.

There are real wreathes and artificial wreathes; artificial berries and the real McCoys. These days, Kitch said, it’s becoming hard to differentiate between to the two, so again it’s all a matter of what you like and what you want on your house.

The wreath hung over your porch light? It can last many winters or just the one.

The winterberries you’ve got in a pot or strewn throughout your shrubbery? It’s your call if you want to store them later or get new ones next year.

“They’re so real-looking now it’s hard to tell the difference,” Kitch said.

Arbors and lanterns are also popular this time of year, Kitch said, and greenery can be hung or woven over both. Evergreens can also provide a bit of spice to a winter landscape, along with the Christmas lights which can be wrapped around them.

Twinkle or market lights can stay up well after the Christmas season, too, Kitch said.

A recent trend in landscape lighting puts plenty of focus on beautifying the outside of a home no matter what the season. Landscapers can provide shadow where you want it and brighten other areas which are otherwise dark.

“When we meet with a client, beauty is always an aspect,” said Aaron Bentley, co-owner of 1B Specialty Lighting.

One thing you should not be is afraid to just try something simple.

Keeping a bird feeder filled during the winter might bring some of our colorful feathered friends to your yard on a regular basis. Or it can be as simple as adding something that may normally look out of place but adds some needed spice.

At Bruce Ewing Landscaping’s showroom, 124 N. Thomas Road, a statue of a woman holding a basket sits outside. Someone decided to put a pumpkin in the basket, to show how the orange can brighten the garden statue and give it that seasonal color.

“There’s always something you can do,” Kitch said.

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