1. Layer your space with a mix of evergreens, perennials, and smaller seasonal plants. For example, plant hydrangeas in front of a well-nurtured holly. The two will look great together while the hydrangeas last, and the holly will offer out-of-season color on its own. Avoid filling sizeable portions of the garden with annuals and smaller flowers that will leave a lonely, empty footprint in the colder months.
2. Don’t forget the fertilizer. Contrary to popular belief, most Lowcountry gardens will benefit from fertilization every single month. This is particularly important if your landscape is subjected to root competition from trees, like the Avants’ is. So despite what your neighbors may say, apply a balanced fertilizer every month and watch your green material hold its foliage better out of season. In a region where the soil almost never freezes, your plants are always feeding—so give them something to eat.
3. Pay attention to your hardscape. These portions of the space (flagstones, pavement, etc.) can appear stark in the winter so ring them with small, hardy plants. Ferns, ivy, or even dwarf gardenias can break the monotony and prevent the empty appearance those walkways and seating areas can present.