Get inspired this winter for building your own winterscape. Have a look at some winter decor ideas, then submit a photo in one of three categories:

  • Winter Art
  • Winter Garden
  • Winter Play

Be creative and use your imagination! View the gallery of winning entries to get inspired for your own creations!

Use Nature as Art

Use existing plants and plant materials in your yard and around your neighbourhood. Integrate these into your winterscape by building on or around trees and shrubs, and add plant materials as decorative features in winter scenes.

  • Use plants as a feature in art or sculpture such as: pine, juniper, cedar, blue spruce, paper birch, dogwood, columnar aspen, willow, caragana, Amur maple, mountain ash, and roses
  • Use plants that hold onto their fruits/seeds through the winter such as: ornamental onion, Rocket ligularia, Annebelle hydrangea, purple coneflower, and Martagon lily
  • Some vines will add to your winter scene such as hops and concord grapes
  • Grasses such as Karl Forester feather reed grass and blue fescue both add lovely colour to your garden in the winter
  • Plant for shoulder-seasons. Some cooler fall weather frost-tolerant plants include: kale, violets, and snapdragons

If collecting plant materials, please remember to be kind to nature and your neighbours: 

  • Try to collect items from the ground, instead of breaking/pulling parts from living plants
  • Ask your neighbours before taking materials from their private property
  • Only collect items in public places and parks where collection is allowed

Book: The Prairie Winterscape: Creative Gardening for the Forgotten Season

Get Creative with Snow and Ice

Building things with snow does not have to be complicated. You can use existing snow and ice formations in your yard as a base for creating your winterscape:

  • Pile snow against trees and shrubs, or add snow and natural items to these structures to create animals, faces, and more
  • Use snow for imaginative snow play and abstract creations
  • Carve designs or objects out of snow or ice such as snow forts or a whole village of houses
  • Use snow forms to create blocks of snow perfect for sculpting things such as a "Moai" sculpture
  • Book: Snow Play (available for free for teachers from WinterCity—please email

Use Wildlife-Friendly Features

Why should humans have all the fun? Attract some winter wildlife to your yard with a birdfeeder, a heated birdbath, or by leaving some natural areas intact where animals might find shelter and food. You could even try making your own feeders!

Add these to your garden for wildlife:

  • Bird feeders
  • Heated bird baths
  • Small garden ponds

Summer Gardening... in the Winter

Planter containers, watering cans, lawn ornaments, benches, tables and fences can all be included in your winterscape.

A watering can might come in handy as a container for collecting and displaying dried winter plants.

Consider adding a combination of attractive dried plants, boughs of evergreens or fruit-bearing branches, and even artificial sprigs of leaves or feathers for a colourful and unique winter planter.


  • Instead of filling the bottom of your winter planter with soil, which can freeze when it gets wet and prevent easy adding/removing of material, try filling the bottom with sand
  • To prevent planters from easily tipping over, weigh down the bottom with rocks

Use Palettes of Colour

Add splashes of colour to your winterscape:

  • Use coloured ice blocks or decorations to create a cool look for your yard
  • Use food colouring mixed with water in spray or squeeze bottles to draw or paint in the snow, and colour your snow sculptures.
  • During Christmas break in 2013, participants of a River Valley Daycamp created coloured snow sculptures in Whitemud Park:

Lighten Up Your Winterscape

Adding some lights to your winterscape can brighten up your front yard at night and highlight special features. Some ideas include:

  • Solar-powered lights along pathways
  • Lighting up snow sculptures with LED lights
  • Building small mounds of snow with a hole in the centre, and sticking glow sticks into the snow mound to create temporary patches of soft lighting
  • Making lanterns and light holders out of plant materials to light your yards and pathways
  • Use LED lights for your residence
  • Turn your winter lights on at night (for maximum energy efficiency, have them set on a timer so you don’t forget to turn them off)