Winter, a time for planning - how to use the cold season for garden design

“A garden needs to be tended”, French philosopher Voltaire remarked. Because a beautiful garden does not come about by accident. It needs to be carefully planned and designed. The long and dark winter evenings of the pre-Christmas season are perfect for rethinking your garden layout for the coming spring. If you do your gardening homework in winter, you can sit back, relax and look forward to a beautifully blossoming garden in spring.

Winter, a time for planning


One clever trick is to take at least one photo of the garden every month in the current gardening season. These photos can then be studied in more detail in wintertime - for example whilst relaxing in front of the fireplace on a cold winter’s eve. Place the photos of the various flowerbeds and patches side by side and compare them. This will make it easier to identify gaps left behind by withered plants.

List and sketch

Apart from taking photos, it is also a good idea to measure your garden as precisely as possible and make a detailed sketch. Ask yourself the following questions: What do I want to keep? What would look better somewhere else? Where would be a suitable spot? The height of the individual plants must also be taken into consideration. If certain plants grew bigger than expected in summer, this can be taken into account in your planning for the next year, allowing you to take measures in good time that will shape the garden according to your preferences.


The long winter evenings at home are also ideal for researching plants, for example with the help of plant encyclopedias and nursery catalogues. This will help you choose which plants to buy in spring and which not to buy. In the same way that it is not recommendable to shop for groceries on an empty stomach, it is also advisable to prepare your garden planning.


The fun part of planning begins once you have completed your research: Browse catalogues with beautiful pictures of plants to find inspiration on how to design your garden. Here too, the following applies: Don’t base your decisions on pictures, but on facts. Because: Not every plant grows well everywhere. Each plant favours certain conditions with regard to light and location. For this reason, it is usually better to choose gentle colours for shaded or semi-shaded areas, preventing them from appearing too bright.

Avoid rash make-overs

Removing a dominant plant, bush or tree permanently should only be done after careful consideration. In winter there is plenty of time to think about what the garden would look like without a particular tree or plant. You can make a sketch, sleep on it for a couple of nights, and then decide. This will allow you to act with confidence when implementing your decisions in spring.  Because: It usually takes a long time for a new plant to grow as big as the old tree.

Garden planning with Engel & Völkers

Would you like to start your landscape gardening right away, but are still lacking the right garden? Then take a look at the Engel & Völkers website. Due to our many years of experience in the real estate sector and our 32 locations around the world, our website offers an extensive selection of dream properties.

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