December 12, 2023

I live in Atlanta, Georgia. What can I do to improve the appearance of my front yard landscaping during the winter when my grass is brown and dormant?

Dormant front yard in Georgia with landscape lighting

In Georgia and other Southern states where warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia are common, it’s normal for the grass to go dormant and turn brown during the winter months.

Even if your lawn isn’t the centerpiece of your front yard landscape design, there are several ways to enhance your curb appeal during the cold months. 

  1. Plant Winter Annuals: Introduce seasonal color by planting winter annuals such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, or ornamental kale (Read our article about fall and winter plants.) These plants can add vibrant hues to your landscape, providing a pop of color that will last into the Spring. 
  1. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch to your flower beds and around trees. Mulch not only helps to conserve moisture but also provides a neat and tidy appearance to your landscaping. Here in the South, some people find pine needles, called pine straw, to be a cost-effective mulch option. Others choose pine bark, mini pine nuggets or colored hardwood mulch.  We recommend choosing a mulch color that complements the other elements in your yard.
Front Yard Hardscaping Ideas
Front Yard Hardscaping Ideas
  1. Hardscaping Elements: The Winter months are a great time to incorporate hardscaping features like decorative stones, pathways, or garden structures. These elements can add visual interest and bring in different colors and textures to your front yard.  Also, because of the fair temperatures in Georgia, there is almost no restriction on starting a hardscape project during these months – well, aside from the rare hard frost! 
  1. Evergreen Plants: Plant evergreen shrubs and trees strategically throughout your yard. Evergreens maintain their foliage year-round, providing a green backdrop even in winter. Popular choices for the South include hollies, magnolias, and certain varieties of azaleas.
  1. Decorative Containers: Place decorative containers filled with winter-tolerant plants on your porch or around the entrance. This not only adds color but also creates focal points that draw attention away from the dormant grass.
  1. Landscape Lighting: Install outdoor lighting to highlight key features of your landscaping, such as trees, architectural elements, or hardscapes.  Learn about landscape lighting options from this article on HGTV.COM .
  1. Artificial Turf:  If you want your yard to remain the same color year-round, some are turning to artificial turf.  Even if you don’t want to take the plunge of installing turf for your entire yard, you may choose to try it in a courtyard or an area where natural grass may struggle to thrive. 

By combining these landscape design strategies, you can enhance the overall appearance of your front yard during the winter months, making the most of the dormant period for your warm-season grass.

Learn more about Front Yard Landscape ideas and options here

Written by Outside Landscape Group, Branches in Atlanta (and cities north) and Lake Martin, Alabama.

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