There’s no denying that winter reveals our garden’s success stories. With bare branches and the absence of blooms, we can’t help but notice the shapes and silhouettes in our landscape. And we can’t help but notice the gaps, too.
That’s why, we’ve rounded up some favorite plant combinations to help you enhance your view. From sinuous Japanese Maples and pyramidal evergreens, to exfoliating bark and berry-heavy branches, there’s something here for everyone.
Love this look? Grow a grove ofJapanese Maples. Their rich fall color and elegant silhouettes always make for a beautiful view.
Focus on beautiful bark and celebrate a windfall of pale pink winter flowers with this landscape centerpiece you and the wildlife will love.
Companion plant ideas
Develop a sense of order and a breath of formality when you add a pyramidal or architectural conifer (Thunderhead Japanese Black Pinecomes to mind). Large, bold succulents likeSapphire Skies Beaked Blue Yuccacan also add structure and beauty. Layer in more texture and repeat the rounded forms of your centerpiece with an undulating understory. Evergreen foliage provides cool cover for wildlife while the nuance of a monochromatic palette lends sophisticated style.
This bird-friendly tree layers gorgeous bark under a low canopy of deep green leaves. In fall and winter, rosy panicles appear with red and yellow strawberry-like fruit. A smart choice for fire escaping. Evergreen.Learn more
One of the most beautiful and decorative pyramidal conifers for the South and the first of its kind icy blue foliage. Use as a litter-free screen against unsightly views or for privacy. Evergreen.Learn more
Use in the mid- to back border as a punctuation mark. Glossy, deep green leaves edged add subtle shines in your winter garden. Dense, mounded habit bursts with white flowers in spring. Evergreen.Learn more
Dense, bright green foliage is an excellent alternative to Boxwood with little to no pruning. Natural rounded habit can look formal or add structure to a blowsy cottage garden. Evergreen.Learn more
Beautiful Branches (Zone 6 – 8)
Revel in winter’s low light when you grow plants with exfoliating bark out a west window. Backlit, they’re breathtaking.
Companion plant ideas
If your garden edges along footpath or reflects water, your understory choices make double the impact. Interplant a lower curtain of evergreens likeGolden Ghost Japanese Red Pinewith small trees or larger shrubs that pop with colorful, bare bark (Variegated Red Twig Dogwoodis stunning). A low evergreen shrub or groundcover rounds out this easy care combo.
With maturity, russet shades of its papery bark peels back to reveal smooth, new honeyed cinnamon layers. Soft green leaves fill in upright branches that reach into a rounded crown, blazing scarlet in fall. Deciduous.Learn more
In winter, this conifer’s green foliage transitions to deep, glowing gold. Discovered by our Craftsman, Rigoberto Pineda, this Monrovia exclusive has exceptional disease resistance, foliage color, and vigor. Evergreen.Learn more
In winter, this small, upright tree has shed its yellow–gold leaves and the sinewy, bright coral-red branches light up your landscape. Excellent in front of evergreens, a fence line, or your front walk. Deciduous.Learn more
Winter flowers! Joyful magenta-red flowers last through early spring. Dark green foliage fills in quickly as mounded groundcover. Mass plant along a pathway, the front of your border, or on a hillside. Evergreen.Learn more
Beautiful Branches (Zone 4 – 8)
Take the long view when you choose a slow-growing landscape tree that matures into a colorful screen or that frames a beautiful view.
Companion plant ideas
With a slower growing tree, you have time to curate your understory and plant for sun or partial sun before the backdrop casts shade. Whether you’re planting close in or designing for a vista view, we love a mix of colorful shrubs. Mix and match evergreens likeGolden Ghost Japanese Red Pine(orEnchanted Forest® Impish Elf™ Pieris, which is also stunning en masse) with lower growing deciduous shrubs in odd numbers of at least three. Your garden and the wildlife will thank you.
Spectacular in the far back corner of the landscape, where it can slowly mature and its symmetrical form will shine with dramatic fall color. Fruitless branches mean no mess, no stink. Deciduous.Learn more
Lots of bright red berries to feed the birds and nourish your spirit all fall through winter. Dense, dark blue-green foliage on blue-purple stems tolerates shearing, if you like. Excellent for holiday décor. Evergreen.Learn more
This gilded, easy care conifer offers the illusion of movement thanks to tiered branches and weeping, thread-like needles that drape over the entire shrub. Bright, golden yellow new foliage, even in full sun. Evergreen.Learn more
When this dwarf, globe-shaped shrub drops its deep red leaves, a dense and tidy web of branches forms a dense thicket that needs no trimming. Excellent for low maintenance mass planting. Deciduous.Learn more
Beautiful Branches (Zone 2 – 6)
Rethink lawn trees: they can be versatile in the landscape especially when they lend unusual branching or weeping habits (or magical spring catkins and fall color).
Companion plant ideas
If you’ve already got a neutral background, like a sea of evergreens, a grove of Birches, or even an architectural wall, you can focus more on bark color and texture. Discover standout foliage onRed Twig DogwoodandAngel® Ninebark. Or, add softness and movement with ornamental grasses likeBlue Heaven Little Bluestem, whose coppery seed heads feed the birds even when its base is encased in a low drift of snow.
Silvery white bark trunk sends out graceful branches that wave with waterfalling leaves. Fall color is spectacular. Stately in front of evergreens. Serene along walkways and in wide open spaces. Deciduous.Learn more
This colorful conifer heartily heralds spring by pushing bright yellow-gold new growth out at the tips of its mature blue-green foliage. Pyramidal with a dense habit that’s perfect for windbreaks or screening.Learn more
In autumn, spicy red foliage falls to reveal flaming orange-red stems for winter drama. Later, spring’s golden foliage fades to soft, summery yellow. Always colorful, this four-season beauty is very hardy. Deciduous.Learn more
Autumn foliage burns red-gold on this Northeastern native groundcover. Fall also sees summer’s clusters of pale pink flowers become ornamental red berries that persist into winter and feed the birds. Evergreen.Learn more
Want more design inspiration?
Be inspired by these gardens in both cold and warm zones. From olive trees to evergreen spires, beautiful branches come in all shapes, sizes, and textures. Which branches astonish or inspire you most?
Explore a woodland plant palette for beautiful branches in your garden.