Planning in the low season


What does a designer do in the winter?

The winter blues are real for me. One big reason is because I am a gardener and my happy place is with the sun on my face and dirt under my finger nails. The lack of vitamin D and fresh air gets to me in the winter as I sit holed up in my home office in the basement working on designs. On the positive side I do think many things about winter are beautiful and I appreciate the change in season. Snuggling up on the couch with a coffee and a book only feels right when it is cold outside.  Even gardeners love a break from taking care of the yard so a few months reprieve is appreciated, though I really wish it was only three months not six!

Even with sub zero temps and snow covering all our yards I continue to work because thankfully my job is not seasonal.  During what I’ll call the 'low season' I can really take my time with designs and give clients extra time to make decisions about their yard. They can plan ahead and have a firm idea of what the yard will look like before a landscaper starts work. You wouldn’t decide to build a house and just ask a contractor to start building it without plans so why would the yard be any different than that?

It is so uplifting and rewarding to show a homeowner their conceived plan when they otherwise are staring at a blanket of white in the yard. Some of my favourite transformations have been ones where I consulted in the winter and those 'before' pictures are really a stark contrast to their summer 'after' pictures.

Above: In an ideal situation I would plan everything from the back door to the rear property line. 


Above:  Planning decks and yards all at once can make sure there is easy access out to other commonly used areas of the yard.

Why wait?

Winter isn’t the perfect season to plan for every yard but a phone call to a designer or landscaper will help to determine whether it is possible for your property. Here is a list of some pros and cons of designing or getting your project quoted in the winter.


  • Low season pricing for a design.
  • Changes to a design happen faster and the package can be finished faster than the high season.
  • Easier to contact landscapers and set up meetings.
  • Won’t be rushed through the decision making process.
  • Have yard planned and quotes back so you will be on a contractor’s schedule before the snow melts.
  • You will get to enjoy your yard instead of doing the planning during our short summer!


  • Mature yards may be tough to measure or consult on when covered in snow.
  • Unable to preview the designers recommended plant species at the greenhouse.
  • Some surprise costs may get added once the snow melts and the landscaper is able to properly view the grading.

Plan now, enjoy in summer!

No matter what the situation it always pays to plan, whether you are doing that yourself or hiring someone to help with the process.  Allowing yourself time to design or select the materials and budget for your new home or mature yard renovation will reward you with time during the summer to enjoy it!