Top Trees for Winter Landscaping

Many gardeners are proud of their spring, summer and autumn gardens, but they find winter landscape design very difficult.  

There are many trees and shrubs which may add a lot of color with their red or yellow berries, or unusual bark hues.  Others, like evergreen trees, add visual interest in black and white landscape.  Many of those trees attract wild birds providing them with food and shelter. 

When you are looking for your winter trees, choose trees with berries, lovely bark or interesting branch pattern. 


Best Winter Landscaping Trees with Unique or Colorful Bark

Lacebark Elm


The trunk of a Lacebark Elm has a beautiful, flaking bark in many shades of grays, tans and reds.  It has been described as “one of the most splendid elms”.  Exfoliating 3 color patchwork bark adds soft, mottled colours to your winter landscaping.  Great for zones 5 to 9. 

If you like trees with beautiful bark, consider Quaking Aspen in your winter landscaping.  Quaking Aspen has a tall trunk marked with green or black scars and knots.  This tree looks stunning in autumn when the leaves turn bright yellow, yellow-orange, or gold.  Grows well in zones 1 to 7. 

For those Southern gardeners, another tree to take into account when developing your winter landscaping ideas is Crape myrtle.  With its mottled light gray exfoliating bark, and its resistance to frost, it makes a perfect choice for any winter garden in zones7 to 9. 

Best Winter Landscaping Trees with Color

One of the best options for any gardener who prefers trees with berries is the crabapple family.  Sargent Crabapple has bright red fruit that stands out in winter.  It is a good choice for smaller gardens because of its dense branching and low height.  Good choice for zones 4 to 8. 

Snowdrift Crabapple, with gorgeous orange-red fruit, adds a lot of color to your landscape.  It attracts birds and makes winter landscaping easy.  This tree looks great during all four seasons, and prefers full sun.  Perfect for zones 4 to 8. 

Winterberry Holly


Winterberry Holly, is a nice bark brighten up winter landscapes with its abundant red clusters of long lasting, bright red fruits.  Please note it is advisable to plant one male ‘Southern Gentlemen’ in close proximity (within 50 feet) for every 3-5 females. 

Just like the evergreen trees, Redosier Dogwood can be used as a screen or windbreak.  Its deep red bare branches look magnificent against snow.  Redosier Dogwood’s colorful red bark makes it a great choice for gardens in zones 2 to 7. 

Favorite Winter Landscaping Evergreen Trees

Colorful winter trees look splendid, but some gardeners prefer evergreen trees that add welcomed patches of green color to the winter landscape.  Colorado Blue Spruce with its blue-green aromatic needles are often planted in rows as windbreaks or privacy screens, and they’re a popular choice for a Christmas Tree.  Zones 2 to 8. 

Deodar Cedar


Deodar Cedar, Another favourite evergreen tree, looks very elegant with its soft green needles and gracefully bent branches.  Native to the Himalayas grows well in zones 7 to 9.


  1. Crista…Please look through these extension publications for juglone tolerant conifer selections. I’m thinking you could create an evergreen buffer using a combination of arborvitae, eastern red cedar, Norway spruce and Canadian hemlock. Check with a local extension agent or forester to make sure you select the right trees for your site conditions.

    1. Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension – Black Walnut and Allelopathy

    2. Purdue Cooperative Extension – Black Walnut Toxicity

    3. Penn State Extension – Landscaping and Gardening around Walnuts & Other Juglone Producing Plants

    4. National Agroforestry Center – Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways

    The Conservation Buffers website offers resources for planning and designing buffers in rural and urban landscapes.

  2. I just bought a house with 9000 feet of land and 2 black walnut trees, one about 30′ high, and the other younger but dying. We’ll cut the latter down, but hope to get an arborist to prune the limb stumps and deadwood out of the big tree.

    Unfortunately, juglone limits what I can grow, and will for 20 years after the trees are gone.

    I’d like to grow an evergreen screen on the northern edge of the property, well within 50′ of the dripline. Are there ANY conifers (zone 4-5) that tolerate Juglone?

  3. Pingback: Are there any trees that look great in winter? | Cartwright Tree Care

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