If you live in the versatile USDA hardiness zone 5, you have numerous choices when landscaping your home. The many options may overwhelm, but by picking themes for areas of your yard, you can incorporate several design elements that can help to streamline the process.
An edible landscape graces the yard with beauty while providing you with food. Some edible plants and trees make fantastic ornamental landscaping plants. Dwarf apples perform well in zone 5. They bloom prolifically once they mature, and have a prominent fragrance. Choose varieties such as Honeycrisp and Fuji for their taste and hardiness. Cane fruits, like raspberries and blackberries, make an interesting hedge. Use strawberries, such as the easy-to-grow Alpine variety, as borders in landscaping beds. Northern highbush blueberries are a choice for ornamental shrubs that add fall color to the landscape. Arbors and pergolas covered in grape vines add a Mediterranean flair. Concord and Delaware grapes perform well in zone 5. If you have a large yard, consider a shade tree or two, such as chestnut, persimmon or wild cherry.
The National Wildlife Federation offers certification for wildlife habitats. These habitats include plants that provide food, areas of shelter and clean water. You can attract birds, small mammals and beneficial insects with careful plant selection and placement. To give shelter to small mammals and birds, include shrubs such as cranberry viburnum and elderberry. Perennials for zone 5 that work for this design include Echinacea purpurea, butterfly weed and columbine. You can also include birdhouses and feeders that blend with your home design, as well as bat houses--bats reduce mosquito populations. A water feature as simple as a birdbath works, but a small pond will add more to the landscape.
The winter in zone 5 ranges from mild to frigid, with below-zero temperatures and consistent snow cover. The dreary winter lacks color and vibrancy. To liven up your zone 5 landscaping, plant shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Choose shrub varieties that sport red berries, such as winterberry holly and juniper. Roughleaf dogwood’s red branches look striking against the snow. Some perennials hold their color through the winter, like lavender varieties and dead nettle. Add some late-winter color with early-blooming bulbs. Snowdrops and crocus poke through in early March, sometimes before the snow has melted. Bulbs look their best when planted in masses. They make attractive borders and look stunning scattered throughout a lawn to brighten it up before the grass grows.