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winter backyardNovember and December are always exciting, or at least busy, between parties, shopping and the cheer of Christmas décor. But come January, lots of folks start to get a touch pasty and bloated from too much time indoors chowing down on holiday treats. Time to get out in the yard for some fresh air, people. Here are a few ways to liven up that yard during the doldrums of winter.

Light a Fire

At Buzz, we love a kickass outdoor kitchen and patio. Have you checked out our custom stonework? Picture pulling a comfortable chair up to a stone fire pit on a chilly night, toasting marshmallows with the kids or having a drink with friends. A patio like that can change a person’s attitude toward winter.

Feed the Birds

Make your yard into an all-inclusive resort for birds by planting native flora they like to eat or roost in. These include beautyberry bushes (beloved by cedar waxwings), pyracantha bushes, ornamental pear and yaupon hollies.
Or set out bird feeders. You can hang them from the eaves or place them atop high poles. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what to feed them:

  • Nyjer, aka thistle seed, is a favorite for pine siskins, house finches, and American goldfinches
  • Sparrows appreciate seed spread on the ground. Note, keep cats inside while this is going on.
  • Suet cakes – made of seed and animal fat – are popular with many species.
  • Bluebirds like mealworms.
  • Black-hulled sunflower seeds attract blue jays, cardinals, siskins, and chickadees.
  • Lots of small birds like millet.

Squirrels love to avail themselves of bird feeders, too. This ticks off many a bird lover, but who can blame these hungry rodents? If you make the bird feeder challenging to reach – say, swinging from a hook at the end of a narrow arm extending from a wall – the squirrels will pay you back by putting on an acrobatic show. It’s like having your own personal backyard circus.

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Get Creative with Snow

Back when we were kids, modeling a snowman was the height of winter chic. But now, thanks to Pinterest, Instagram and the like, our digital native kids have access to more mind-blowing snow sculptures. Encourage their creative spirit when they outdo each other with snowcats, snow dogs, snow otters, snow caterpillars, snowcetera.

Go Backyard Camping

Speaking of your kids, wouldn’t they love to set up a tent in the yard and spend the night giggling, telling ghost stories, eating candy or whatever they’re doing out there? Tent, teepee, as long as it doesn’t get too cold, let them sleep in their safely-fenced yard. Maybe send the dog out to babysit.

Add some color

You know how we said Christmas décor cheers up winter? So don’t be in a big hurry to take those lights down. January could be the time to add even more lighting, like maybe some novelty chili pepper or cowboy hats strewn around your deck or trellis work. Winter-blooming flowers, such as pansies, dianthus, snapdragons, and petunia liven up the yard. And how about pink and green ornamental kale? Since it’s ornamental, you’re safe from having to eat it.

Give us a buzz

Some folks like to spend winter planning for spring – studying seed catalogs, planting bulbs, or dreaming up a new look for your old fence. We love to talk fence projects. Call us today if you’re pondering a new fence.