Garden Planning for All Seasons

Learn more about how to plant a garden that boasts year-round seasonal appeal with this guide.
Fiery Foliage and Berries Set Fall Garden on Fire

Fiery Foliage and Berries Set Fall Garden on Fire

Year around appeal is important in a garden and requires careful planning. The brilliant red leaves of Acer palmatum and dense red berries of a Cotoneaster set the garden on fire in the fall.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Related To:

Creating a spectacular garden design that looks beautiful and healthy throughout the year requires careful planning. Find inspiration and ideas by visiting open gardens at different times of the year, note the plants that are looking their best, and add these to your displays. Learn more about how the seasons will affect your garden with this seasonal guide.


Many herbaceous perennials are beneath the soil at this time of year, but those with sturdy stems and enduring seedheads make decorative displays when married with grasses and evergreens. Colorful dogwoods (Cornus) also come into their own in the winter with their scarlet or bright yellow trunks, while white birches (Betula), golden bamboos, and the red trunks of Prunus serrula are picked out by the sloping rays of the winter sun. A few shrubs dare to bloom, including Mahonia japonica, witch hazels (Hamamelis), and scented winter box (Sarcococca). Conifers add evergreen interest with blue-, and gold-leaf types injecting extra color. 


Heralding the start of the growing season, spring arrives with a burst of color as the sun warms the soil and buds unfurl. Delicate blossoms adorn tree branches like bolts of lace, while a few shrubs beneath their canopies also put on an early show. Magnolias are the queens of the spring garden, their beautiful flowers striking a pose against the graceful stems. Perennials are also starting to show their faces in the spring with a range of beautiful hellebores and also dainty bleeding hearts (Dicentra) leading the way. 


Long, sun-drenched days epitomize early summer when the garden is in full swing with plants vying for attention at every turn. The choice is vast, but remember that too many contrasting plants can look messy. Include a few attractive foliage subjects to offset perennials and flowering shrubs. Trees perform a similar function and also help to regulate temperature fluctuations in the garden. As summer draws on, beds and borders may look past their prime, so include asters, rudbeckias, crocosmias and decorative grasses that flower as the season comes to a close. 


It’s easy to forget about fall when you’re planting a border in the spring, but this can be a dramatic season with flaming red and orange foliage firing up the proceedings and branches laden with shimmering fruits. Trees and shrubs valued for their fall tints and berries include  maples, cherries, crabapples, SorbusCotoneasterCotinus, and Viburnum opulus. The violet beadlike berries of Callicarpa bodinieri are also well worth including. Some flowers, such as Verbena bonariensis, asters, and Abelia, continue to bloom as temperatures plunge, while hydrangeas, sedums, and the grasses that bloomed earlier have ornamental seedheads, many of which will persist into the winter. Include some fall-flowering bulbs, such as nerines and crocuses, at the front of a sheltered sunny border.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Addition Planning: Bumping Out

Avoid costly foundation or roof work by making new space that hangs off the side of the house

Get Ready for Season Five of 'Fixer Upper'

Let the countdown commence, Chip and Jo fans. The season premiere is headed your way, and we've got solid hints at what you'll be seeing this season. 

'Fixer Upper' Season 4 Finale: The Colossal Crawford Reno

Chip and Jo take on a project for some special clients and deliver a makeover that's way long on 'wow' factor.

10 Trendy Removable Wallpapers All Renters Should Know About

Removable wallpaper is everywhere, and the options just keep getting better and better. Whether you're a renter (or just someone who changes their mind a lot!), you'll want to check out these 10 chic and stylish options that will give your space a quick and easy design upgrade.

'Vintage Flip' is Back for Season Two

Tina and Jessie Rodriguez have great things in store for the new season of their old-home renovation series — and a new addition of their own.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.