Archive: December 2016
Nothing. Ha- Just kidding! We design of course!
As the temperatures in our Wisconsin landscape get bitterly cold, our skilled team of Landscape Architects and Landscape Designers remain available for design and master planning projects during the winter months. We can help you with that rain garden, retaining wall, outdoor landscape lighting or just some curb appeal that you’ve been putting off.
Beat the rush! It’s best to get started now if you want something done in spring!
We develop creative solutions for residential landscapes and commercial landscape projects in a wide range of aesthetic styles.
Which landscape styles speak to you?
- A woven tapestry of colors and textures of the New American Garden style
- Clean and simple elegance of Contemporary Minimalism
- Informal beauty of Prairie-Inspired Landscapes and Gravel Gardens
- Tranquility of Wisconsin Woodland Gardens
- Asymmetrical balance and harmony of Japanese-Style Landscapes
- Geometric, formal symmetry of Classic Traditional Landscapes
From smaller-scale garden design to landscape master planning, our team can help you visualize the Wisconsin landscape of your dreams. It is our responsive and immediate attention to the needs of our client that sets us apart from our competition.
How Does the Process Start?
Our iterative design process begins with a consultation. One of our experienced designers will meet with you to discuss your project. Yes, even when it’s snowing!
Things you may want to consider ahead of time:
- How do you want to use your outdoor space?
- What is your ultimate goal?
- Do you want space for entertaining?
- Would you like a place where children can play?
- Are there views that you want to enhance or screen?
- What is your comfortable level of garden maintenance?
- What is your budget and timeline?
Contact the Avant Design Team today! Send us an email to or give us a call at 608-838-2054. You can also reach out to us via our website’s
Contact Form to schedule a meeting.
PLUS – It’s fun to dream of spring when the it’s SO COLD out!
After the last snowstorm of 7+ inches of snow… some of you might be thinking…
Whyyyy do I still live in this Wisconsin landscape? What is the point of snow? Is this necessary?! Does snow serve any good purpose for my plants?!
- Snow is nature’s way of offering a layer of insulation to plants from the extreme cold or fluctuating temperatures.
- It offers a more stable environment when the temperatures vary greatly in a short period of time. Most damage done to plants is generally in the early fall or late spring if there is not a layer of snow to provide protection.
- In Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Gardening, snow is called “the poor man’s fertilizer.” When it comes through the atmosphere, nitrogen and sulfur attach to the flakes. Then during the melting period in spring, these elements are sent into the soil and absorbed by plants. ANd of course, nitrogen is essential to your plant’s overall health.
- Snowfall lures more birds and animals to the food sources that you’ve set out for them since their natural food sources are more covered. This means that you will see more action at your feeders and birdbaths.
Heavy snow can split columnar shrubs and trees and the added weight can cause branches to break, especially with bitter freezing temperatures and strong winter winds.
How do I protect my plants from the ravages of winter?
Gently remove snow as soon as possible after a snowfall, before it completely freezes to the branches. Use a broom to reach higher branches that may get weighted down.
Hopefully you’ve already watered deeply in the fall to prevent drying out. You can also offer your plants some physical barrier protection from any salt source if they’re more susceptible.
Top 10 Gifts for Gardeners
With the holidays approaching it’s time to check your green-thumbed friend off your list! Shopping can be stressful… whether it’s for a fellow gardener or that aunt that doesn’t want anything. These gift ideas are sure to be perfect for the garden enthusiast in your life and maybe even those other hard-to-buy-for family members!
Every gardener needs one! A garden journal is perfect for keeping track of all those pesky things we forget about! Help your friend stay organized in their garden and remember which plants they want to divide, phenological notes, ideas for next season, which plants the rabbits ate, and any other reminders!
3. Olbrich Botanical Gardens Membership
For the month of December, current members can gift a membership to new members for 1/2 price! It is the gift that keeps on giving all year long with free admission to the Bolz Conservancy, discounts in the Growing Gifts gift shop, discounts on Olbrich classes and trips, access to special members only events and reciprocal benefits to over 300 gardens nationwide!! Check out their website to fill out the application.
5. Magazine Subscription
There are so many fantastic garden magazines that provide inspiration and creative ideas all year long! Avant Gardening & Landscaping’s favorites include: Wisconsin Gardener Magazine, Garden Design Magazine & Horticulture.
7. UW-Arboretum Winter Enrichment Lecture Series Registration
Since 1968, the Arboretum has offered lectures for naturalists in the greater Madison area. This winter program is also open to Arboretum volunteers, friends, and interested public as space allows. Great topics that branch out form birding to geology and everything in between! Check out their website to sign up.
“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens –
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katherine S. White
1. Protection & Preparation
If you haven’t already, be sure to wrap special trees and shrubs to protect them against critters during the winter. Also, protect certain species that you know are attractive to voles/rabbits/deer, such as arborvitae, fothergilla, and oakleaf hydrangea.
Besides mentally prepping for snow accumulation, don’t forget to physically prepare. Now is a good time to make sure you have proper snow removal tools – Do you need a new scoop shovel? Did your winter boots leak last year? Where is that ice scraper…
Once the snow starts to fly, monitor your garden. It’s peaceful and beautiful when snow piles up, but keep in mind too much can be damaging. Heavy, wet snow accumulations can put stress on the branches, causing them to hang down lower or worse, break! Don your most snow-proof winter clothing and get out there to brush off the snow! Focus on your evergreens, especially arborviate spp. and boxwood spp. are most susceptible. It is best to brush off from the ground up so that you’re not causing more damage batting down at the branches.
2. Winter Pruning
Winter is the perfect time to prune trees and shrubs, especially since all the leaves have dropped it makes it easier to see the structure. Another perk – most pests and diseases that are attracted to open wounds of trees are inactive this time of year, so less chance of infecting your plants!
3. Decorate for the Holidays!
Try making a DIY wreath, reclaimed wood trees, or create some winter container displays this year! Not sure how to make a winter container? Read last week’s blog post here for step-by-step instructions.
4. Switch to Indoor Gardening Activities
Take an educational class from UW-Extension, they have an excellent 2017 Green Thumb Gardening Series!! There are plenty of workshops and classes to choose from at Olbrich Botanical Gardens too. Lots you can do to keep you active and thinking about your garden all winter long!
5. Choose a New Book!
Bored with your winter surroundings already? Grab a new gardening book and start gathering inspiration for next year! Pinterest is also a fun place to see lots of ideas and pin photos to save for spring. Here a quick list of a few of our favorite gardening books –
- Growing the Midwest Garden by Edward Lyon (former director of the Allen Centennial Garden, get your copy here)
- Vintage Wisconsin Gardens: A History of Home Gardening
- by Lee Somerville (from the WI Historical Society Press)
- Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening (another good one about vegetable gardening from the WI Historical Society Press)
- Hot Plants for Cool Climates: Gardening With Tropical Plants in Temperate Zones by Dennis Schrader (pick it up here)