Why is it that, after a snowfall, the landscape looks so much better, even if nothing has changed underneath? Snow offers the opportunity to view your garden with new perspective and insights that can make it more enjoyable in every season.

When you hear the phrase “winter interest,” you might think of conifers, fences and trellising, and other large structural components. But in reality, “winter interest” is anything that sticks up out of the snow or breaks up a stretch of undifferentiated white.


Leaves with subtle coloring variations pop after all else is covered with a monochrome blanket.


This pale blue yucca grabs our notice even though most of it is buried.

Different types of plants become more noticeable or striking in a snowy landscape. With most (or some, depending on your location and garden style) of the leaves gone, any that remain stand out. Snow whitewashes the brown or green of the garden floor, making a background that highlights anything left standing.


Snow and frost accentuate the graceful forms and interesting textures of ornamental grasses.


Differences in foliage textures and shapes become more striking.


Trees large and small make fascinating snow sculptures.

By weaving the landscape together with a white blanket, snow adds a sense of coherence that may be missing during other seasons. In a wintry landscape with fewer plants showing color and foliage, it can be easier to gauge distances and proportions. This can help you figure out if garden rooms and elements are pleasingly sized and arranged.


My courtyard in winter, with the lily pond, patio, and walkway indistinguishable except for their openness compared to the planted areas.

Of course, having spent 25+ winters in Minnesota, my tolerance for snow has become somewhat limited. I still appreciate the visual gifts of snow — as well as the stillness and magic it conjures — but I am glad to be doing so in a sunny climate where it is a temporary phenomenon.


Snow is especially satisfying when combined with a blue sky and passing geese.