Spring Will Be Here Before You Know It …Feb 01, 2021 05:08PM ● By Donna Lane
Believe it or not, winter can be the best time of year to assess your landscape. In the undressed winter season, it’s easier to see features that may be hidden when everything is green and lush. The “bones” of your property – its architectural features, interesting and imposing trees, rock outcroppings and the like – are totally exposed.
Take advantage of a bright, sunny day and take a walk through your yard. Make a list of what is already there. Include buildings and other structures (trellises, gates, fences, garden sculptures, iron accessories) trees and hardscape (driveways, walls, stairs, walkways). Note which features you like as well as those that you consider liabilities and want to change.
Also note areas that have distinctive features such as steep slopes, berms, peaks, and particularly wet or dry areas. Look for potential hazards, such as a crumbling staircase, hanging tree limbs or tripping hazards. Note nuisance items too – like marauding deer, street noise, an unattractive view, or a neighbor’s tree that drops its leaves in your yard.
Spend some time becoming familiar with the patterns of sun and shade at different times of the day. (This should be done in other seasons as well.) Note how dense the shade is in particular areas. If there is snow on the ground, make note of the areas where the snow melts quickly and where it lingers.
As with sun and shade patterns, analyze typical wind speeds and direction at different times of the year. Wind settles and pools in low-lying areas, just as it does with water. This can create frost pockets where the yard dips. The data will be invaluable in helping to you decide where best to place trees and plants to block wind or funnel it.
Once you have made your notes outside, take a look at your yard from the inside – especially the windows with the most important views such as from the kitchen sink, the family room or the bedrooms. Note how the view can be enhanced or improved from each area. Is there anything blocking the view? Would you rather be looking at something else? Do you have enough privacy?
Over the course of two to three weeks, keep notes on the wildlife that visits your property. Are there gangs of squirrels frolicking about? What type of birds does your landscape attract? Do you see deer tracks in the snow? Where do they lead?
Finally, take photos from inside and out so you will have a visual record. No matter how good your memory is, it’s seldom perfect. Your photos and lists will help you to decide what you want to change come spring, time and money permitting.