Get Your Landscape Ready For Winter With These Tips From Harold Leidner

Getting your home ready for winter and the holidays? Take some advice from the foremost in landscape design — Harold Leidner. (Courtesy Photo)

With freezing weather in the forecast, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to preserving the hard work you put into your landscape during the spring and summer. Luckily we have one of the best resources — Harold Leidner, founder of Harold Leidner Landscape Architects. What plants need special winter care? How should you winterize your pool and water features? And what’s the best way to over-winter your trees and shrubs?

Harold Leidner has the answers: North Texas usually gets mild winters when compared to the rest of the United States, though we do get some hard freezes. What are some plants or landscape features that need special consideration when it comes to freezing weather? 

Harold Leidner: Tropical plants like palms, potted plants, fountains, and irrigation systems all need some form of preparation for winter.

Covering tropical plant material with freeze cloth all winter is not necessarily attractive, but it sure beats shelling out money for a new one come spring.  Potted plants, regardless of their cold hardiness, should be kept under close watch as they are above ground and will freeze faster than the surrounding soil.  

Fountains, especially the ever popular ‘bubbling urn’, should be completely drained for the winter.  When water freezes, it expands and can cause the fountain to crack.  Continue to have your irrigation system checked regularly to make sure everything is in working order. Rain/Freeze sensors are a must.

Before you have your Christmas lights installed, make sure your landscape is ready for winter weather, advises Harold Leidner.

CD: Several estates in Dallas have large pools and water features. What should homeowners do to prepare or winterize when the swim season is over?  

HL: Typically pool equipment like pumps, filters, etc., will run through the winter as running water takes longer to freeze than water not in motion.  The same rule from above applies to fountains though.  Turn them off and keep them off.

CD: When a freeze warning occurs, what’s the first thing homeowners should do to protect their investment in their landscape?   

HL: Make sure your soil has moisture. Dry soil + new planting = disaster.  If the season is abnormally dry, run the irrigation on nice days. Typically 1 or 2 times a week will suffice although with all the rain we’ve experienced lately, my irrigation has been off for over a month.  If you are unsure, that’s where a rain/freeze sensor will help.

Boxwoods are great winter shrubs that look great in traditional and modern contexts.

CD: When planning your winter landscape, what are some plants that are especially well-suited for the season? 

HL: Nothing beats the Boxwood.  It is very hardy and lends itself to both classic and modern designs.