Seasonal Planting Guide for Year-Round Color

Colorful seasonal gardens delight visitors from January through December—they always have something new to display. We have had so many questions about how to create seasonal gardens that we’re offering this seasonal planting guide for year-round color.

Seasonal Gardens Take Planning

A good seasonal garden takes a lot of organization and planning. But the year-round enjoyment you’ll receive from viewing your garden will make it worthwhile.

You don’t have to prepare your entire garden at once, but you should put together a comprehensive plan for your property.

Summer season gardens surrounding a swimming pool

Plan Your Seasonal Garden with Color in Mind

Plan your landscape to include colorful trees and shrubs as well as lively and interesting flowers.

You may decide to use containers for easy placement of colorful annuals, perennials, and evergreens.

It’s important that your plant selections have the right soil, light and water—and will thrive on your property. Once you know your planting zone, you can research all tree, shrubs, and flower options.

Know Your Planting Zone

The US Department of Agriculture created an easy-to-use map to determine your area’s plant hardiness zone. Once you know your zone, you can select perennials, trees and shrubs that will grow well in your region.

The Canadian Planting Zone Map offers more information about planting zones, including the length of growing seasons, expected high temperatures, and expected rainfall. This information can help you select annuals that will thrive in your garden.

To learn how to use these two ultimate gardening resources, read our blog post on “Understanding Planting Zones for Your NJ Landscape.”

Backyard lined with arborvitae and flowering shrubs

Select Trees and Shrubs for Your Garden’s Foundation

Trees and shrubs can be costly, but they are well worth the expense. They will last for many years and are the foundation for your entire garden,

Be sure to select your trees and shrubs carefully. You want to enjoy seeing them every day and remain motivated to take good care of them.

Mix interesting trees and shrubs together that vary in color, texture, shape, and height.

Over the years, the trees and shrubs will mature. You might want to plant trees to shade your house and garden. A properly placed tree can make it cheaper to cool your home in summer, as well as provide shade for plants that want extra protection from the sun.

Colorful trees and shrubs line walkway and steps to front of home

Trees and Color

Many trees flower and bear fruit. They will provide a lot of color in the spring and fall.

Evergreens add color and shape to your landscape year-round, although in winter their color contribution may be most valued.

Some deciduous trees offer striking fall foliage that adds lots of seasonal color to your property.

Here are some popular tree selections and the colors they can bring to your New Jersey or New York landscape:

  • Flowering Dogwoods in early May have white and pink blossoms
  • Maple tree leaves show off spectacular autumn shades of orange, yellow and red
  • American Holly trees display colorful red berries in late autumn through winter, which provide welcomed food for birds and squirrels

Here are some additional suggestions for New Jersey exotic and specimen trees.

Shrubs and Color

Shrubs will add colorful flowers and foliage to your landscape.

Popular New York and New Jersey flowering shrubs include:

  • Forsythia—These bushes have many bright yellow flowers that bloom in early spring
  • Lilac—Their lavender flowers bloom late April and May
  • Rhododendron—These large, vibrant blooms in pink, purple or white appear in late spring to early summer
  • Azalea—Vary in height from less than a foot to 20 feet. Bushes have vibrant springtime flowers in either white, purple, red, pink, orange, or yellow
  • Roses—They come in many varieties of pink, red, white, coral, yellow, purple, and red
  • Hydrangea—Their large “snowball” flowers appear in summer and last past the first frost. Colors include pink, white, and blue. The soil’s pH can affect the bloom color

Select bushes that have a staggered blooming season, from late winter to late fall. This way, your garden will always have a fresh and colorful focal point.

Elegant home with vibrant and colorful seasonal plantings

Select Perennials and Annuals for Vibrant Color


Perennials grow back year after year.

They usually have green growth in the spring. They flower for several weeks in the spring, summer, or early fall—depending on the flower type.

To plan a colorful year-round garden, select different perennials with staggered expected blooming times. This way your garden will have an ever-changing color display. Be sure to include some winter bloomers too.

Some favorite perennials you can grow in New Jersey and New York include:

  • Violets—These self-seeding plants bloom from mid-February to late March in NJ
  • Crocus—Flowers bloom late winter to early spring in shades of purple, orange, yellow, white, blue, and cream
  • Tulips— Red, yellow, purple, and pink flowers bloom from early spring through early summer
  • Daffodils—Yellow and orange flowers bloom in early spring
  • English Lavender—This herbaceous perennial has fragrant purple spiked flowers that bloom in late June
  • Asters—White, purple, blue or pink flowers bloom in late summer to early fall
  • Christmas Rose—This plant has white or light pink winter blooms from December through March


Annual flowers produce vibrant, intensely colored flowers for a single growing season when properly maintained and cared for. Use them for added variety and beauty.

Including annuals in your seasonal garden is labor intensive since you must plant new flowers each season.

Annuals popular in New Jersey and New York include:

  • Begonias— Plant in late spring after last frost for yellow, red, orange, apricot, pink, and white flowers
  • Impatiens—Plant after the last frost for red, pink, violet, coral, purple, and yellow flowers
  • Pansies— Provide distinctive yellow, red, mahogany, blue, purple, mauve, pink, orange, white, and even black flowers
  • Marigolds— Will bloom all summer in sunshine colors of yellow, gold, orange, red and mahogany

Still need ideas? Read more about colorful autumn New Jersey flowers.

Plan for Butterflies and Hummingbirds in Your Seasonal Garden

Butterflies and hummingbirds add interest and color to your garden. And we all know these small friends appreciate it when you think of them.

Hummingbirds are attracted to:

  • Flowers with red or orange tubular shapes
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Bee Balm
  • Hummingbird Sage

Butterflies visit:

  • Milkweeds
  • Violets
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Zinnias
  • Asters

Maintenance Keeps Your Seasonal Garden Looking Its Best

Trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals all require maintenance, whether it’s pruning, protecting, planting, or cutting back.

The move love and care you put into your garden, the greater benefits you will receive in terms of visual beauty and fresh welcoming scents.

Do you want a colorful seasonal garden? Contact us at Sponzilli Landscape Group where our landscape architects stand ready to assist you.

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