Fall is here, and the outdoors have turned into a beautiful array of romantic colours. You may think it is all random when you see this mix in parks and gardens, but it is usually planned. There are ways to plan a garden to look its fall best.

Heather Lowe is the owner of Heather Lowe: Landscape Design in Regina, Saskatchewan, and she gave us a few tips.

1) Pick the best shrubs

Lowe likes to work with the family of shrubs called Dogwood that have red bark. Their leaves turn red or purple in the fall and stand out. 

burning bush

This Dwarf Burning Bush is typically just a green shrub through most of the growing season, but gets brilliant red leaves in the fall. (Heather Lowe)

"We think that bark doesn't change colour... but actually some of the bark, like in the Dogwoods, it intensifies depending on the season of the year," Lowe said. "It might be a burgundy-red bark through most of the season, but it gets sharper in colour in the fall, and sometimes even in the winter."

There's also a family of shrubs called Burning Bush that get brilliant red leaves on them in the fall. It's typically just a green shrub through most of the growing season, but Lowe says it's worth having for fall colour. 


Dogwood bushes have red bark that intensifies in colour in the Fall. (Heather Lowe)

2) Pick the best trees

It depends how big your yard is, and how many plants you plan on putting in it, but the Linden, Ash, and Maple trees turn brilliant colours. The nice yellow bark of Willows also makes them a great addition to a fall mosaic. 

Mountain Ash

The Mountain Ash tree turns gorgeous colours in the Fall. Other trees that look great in the Fall include Maple and Linden trees. (Heather Lowe)

3) Don't worry about matching

"It would be hard to look out the window and say that colour and that colour don't go together," Lowe said. "In nature we see all kinds of colours blending really beautifully together."  

The golden, red, dark green, and purple colours will go together. 

Lowe does a bit of planning around matching colours for summer. She would likely not put a red daylily next to a hot pink rose. But Lowe says usually in nature we don't see colour conflicts. 

Fall Garden

Here is a Fall garden in Regina. When Heather Lowe works to make a garden look great in Fall, she doesn't worry about matching colours. "In nature we see all kinds of colours blending really beautifully together," Lowe said. (Heather Lowe)

4) Make sure what you're planting is right for the conditions

Not everything will work in your climate. When you're researching the best looking plants for fall, make sure you specify the conditions of the place you live.

5) Design your yard for the season you will use it most

Lowe says you can plan a garden around every season. You can give it beautiful flower colours in the Spring and fall, and choose plants such as ornamental grasses for the winter time. But you should try to have it be at peak beauty during the season you use it most. If you have a cottage you visit mostly in the fall, plant Willows and Burning Bush. If you take most of your time off in the summer, focus on its summer beauty instead.