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Garden Ideas for Winter

The winter season can easily become somewhat dull and lifeless. Without many pops of color, contrast, or sunlight, it’s easy to wonder how we can find enjoyment in our surroundings during this time. To avoid seasonal depression, we recommend focusing on your winter gardening plans. A winter garden not only keeps you busy but also provides so much joy. The best garden ideas for winter involve garden prep, types of seasonal plants, and garden design strategies.

Extend Your Garden’s Lifespan

Whether you have gained garden ideas for winter inspiration from classical vegetable gardens or rustic winter planters, you must always prep your garden properly. During this season, you need to prep your garden with the right seasonal plants and prepare the soil and space for spring blooms. To extend your garden’s lifespan and highlight its beauty in the winter, follow these key prep steps:

Protect Your Soil

Protect the soil by using winter mulches. With the wide range of temperatures in Chicago, you never know if your soil will become frozen, too moist, or too dry. Mulch regulates your soil’s temperature and helps it stay warm in the winter to protect underground roots. 

Grow Lights

Experienced or novice gardeners should consider using grow lights in their winter gardening plan. Regardless of the season, grow lights help your plants thrive despite the lack of direct sunlight.


Greenhouses are incredibly beneficial in the winter. They regulate temperature, ensure the proper amount of sunlight enters the room, and create a controlled climate to help grow your plants.


When researching the best planter and vegetable garden ideas, you might come across outdoor and indoor garden spaces. If enduring the frigid Chicago winter temperatures does not appeal to you, you might enjoy an indoor or shelter garden space. We recommend investing in a designated outdoor living space with protected areas for you to enjoy your winter gardening in peace. 

Shovel Your Walk

You must consider both the fine and more extensive details as with all gardens. Just like you must strategically pull the weeds for hours in the spring, you must keep the snow and ice from freezing over your entire garden.

The vegetables themselves need to thrive just as much as the soil. In addition, you must access the vegetable bed first to have much success at this garden idea for winter. Experienced gardeners know to consistently de-ice and shovel their walk so they can easily access their garden at all times. If you want to design a garden for commercial purposes, consider enlisting our services. We specialize in salting, de-icing, and snow plowing or shoveling for commercial landscapes. Ensure you produce only the best vegetables by keeping your garden free of ice and snow.

Best Winter Garden Designs

The most enjoyable winter garden has a well-planned design. Whether you are a novice or an expert gardener, we recommend starting with the following garden ideas for winter: 


Topiaries are perfect for winter gardens. Topiaries involve shearing shrubs, herbs, or dwarf trees into animal forms or geometric shapes like globes and cubes. Topiaries often use evergreens like yew, holly, and firethorn that survive well in colder climates. Topiaries are easy features to transform any bare winter space and protect your smaller plants from the elements. 

Vegetable Gardens

While many vegetable garden ideas exist, make sure you choose the right winter gardening plan and vegetables for your space. These are just a few excellent vegetable garden ideas:

  • Building raised beds and hardscaping – Create garden paths with natural stone, sheds, raised garden beds, and more! Prepare for spring growth by starting these projects in the winter. Here at Arbeen Landscaping, we can help you visualize your landscape design and provide the labor for you, so you can stay warm inside during this cold season. 
  • Harvest winter vegetables – Focus on growing crops you can harvest throughout the winter. For example, you could plant leeks, kale, beets, and parsnips
  • Plan – Plan your garden as you’d prefer it. Research garden design ideas on Instagram, browse seed catalogs, or simply consult the professionals at Arbeen Landscaping for the best ideas!

Container Gardens

Container or planter gardens are low maintenance, require small amounts of watering, and need minimal direct sunlight to thrive. There are many reasons to start a container garden this winter. Additionally, they add splashes of color to your outdoor spaces. To add further life to the barren winter landscape, consider pairing your outdoor planters with brick paver patios and fire features for an attractive and lively space.

Designing Winter Container Gardens

Winter container gardens seem simple enough to start. They are pretty simple to create and maintain as long as you thoughtfully plan out your design. To achieve simple or complex container gardens, determine the desired aesthetic, use of lighting, plant choice, and color options. 

Choose An Aesthetic

When debating outdoor winter planter ideas, you first must decide on an aesthetic. Your chosen aesthetic will determine the style and mood of your winter garden. Winter gardening can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With a pre-planned vision, creating your garden will quickly transform into a stress-free process. Some of the best aesthetics for winter gardens include rustic, color-coordinated, galvanized, and classical. 

Appropriate Lighting

The best outdoor winter planter ideas always involve stellar landscape lighting. We use expert methods in our landscape lighting to spotlight certain features in your outdoor space. Counteract the longer and darker winter nights with some lighting. Highlight pops of color with direct light and add soft lights to direct your path. Another helpful benefit besides aesthetics: it also illuminates walkways and prevents intruders from trespassing.

Contrasting Plants

We often associate winter with cold, freezing, and barren landscapes. Most of us give up hope of ever creating a garden early, assuming the plants will wither away. However, with so many outdoor winter planter ideas, your garden will thrive in no time. 

Choose resilient winter plants like fir, spruce, pine branches, and holly or firethorn. These plants will provide an appealing contrast to your white winter space and do not require much upkeep. 

Add Pops of Color

If you do not prefer white winters and favor bright and cheery tones, consider adding pops of color to your space. You can add pops of color in a few different ways. Start with adding natural accents with colorful plants like magnolias and fir. You can also use dried and dyed plants such as dried yarrow flowers. These dried plants will last longer throughout winter since they do not require direct sunlight or water.

However, if the idea of caring for so many living plants during the harsh season seems overwhelming, consider adding other elements such as natural stone pathways, mulch, and rock gardens to spruce up the space.

Winter Gardening With Arbeen Landscaping

Are you interested in creating a winter gardening plan? You may have several outdoor winter planter ideas or visions of a fantastic vegetable garden, but you can’t entirely execute those ideas. Whether you’re new to gardening or an unofficial pro, Arbeen Landscaping can assist with the planning and preparation. Here at Arbeen Landscaping, we will make your vision a reality with our expert residential and commercial landscaping knowledge.

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