Just because the barometer has dropped, doesn’t mean you should let your garden go for the duration of the upcoming cold weather season. Not only are winter gardens easy to maintain, they're also the best way to add a pop of life into the otherwise dull days of winter. Here's how to get started.

Landscaped garden

Pick durable plants

Many shrubs—evergreens, in particular—can withstand the cold temperatures that winter brings. For larger spaces, reach for trees that thrive during colder months: paperbark maples, the Père David maple, paper birch, and pine trees. If you have a smaller space, you can opt for lush shrubs like boxwoods, junipers, or red osier dogwoods. You can also add hardy grasses to your landscape (this has become a popular option among television design show hosts). Pampas grass and miscanthus are the hardiest and add a breath of summer air to even the most chilled-out garden.

Add pops of color

This can be done by adding berry bushes or by painting some accessories and placing them throughout your garden. When it comes to berry shrubs, there are now, luckily, many different varieties on-hand. Holly is a traditional example; firethorns more trendy. When it comes to hardy garden accessories, look for items that are cast iron or metal. A weathervane is a nice modern accent, so is a vintage clock or a gas station pump. If you're not into adding color in the boldest of ways, why not paint a few bird feeders? Fill them with birdseed and you may even attract blue jays or cardinals (some of the most colorful winter birds in nature).

Add lots of light

Holiday lights need not solely be for trimming the front of your home or the trees in your house. This year, grab a string or two of lights and lace them around items in your backyard. You can even get creative with your design technique. The burst of light will bring new life to your yard. And, because many of the lights on offer are LEDs, the extra energy you use won't be detrimental to the environment.

Get a fire pit

Many people in the northern regions of North America still gather around campfires in the winter, so why not turn your backyard into a place where warmth will linger even during the coldest months of the year? All you need are a few tiki torches (exactly like those purchased during the summer months) and one of the new stand-alone chimneys (which mimic fireplaces). Grab a few chairs, a couple cups of hot chocolate, and cuddle around the campfire while snowflakes fall from the sky.

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