The colder months may not be your favorite for spending time in your outdoor areas, but that doesn’t mean those spaces should be drab, dull, and otherwise ignored until spring. Most decks are visible from the inside via windows and doors, and your neighbors will even appreciate your efforts to spruce up. A little twinkle and color will bring warmth to an otherwise winter-bleak landscape. Here are a few ideas for decorating your deck for the winter.

Look Alive

The landscape may be dreary and frozen, but that doesn’t mean there are no signs of life out there. For example, finches, sparrows, and woodpeckers tend to stick around northern climates in the winter, so be sure to keep a few stocked bird feeders so they stop by your yard for a visit. If you don’t mind a few ground critters, consider a small spread of nuts, seeds, and greens to encourage visits from squirrels, rabbits, and any other little guys scrounging for a bite to eat.

Evergreens are another source of life during the season due to their hardiness against the harshest winter conditions. The ground may be too hard and frozen for new plants, but potted plants can be added at any time. Some easy choices include the Japanese yew, potted blue spruce, and almost any variety of boxwood. Fill tabletops and corners with these greens, and choose colorful pots if you need a splash of something more exciting.

Festive Frills

Along with long boughs of evergreens draped over railings or across unused seating areas, the winter season is the time to add some sparkle no matter which holidays you celebrate. Because of the short days and long nights, lighting is an important component of any winter decor. Strings of LED lights will add a soft, warm glow and solar-powered options can provide affordable, hands-off options that click on at dusk and off at dawn. Traditional colorful Christmas strings are festive, LED candles can become focal points, and twinkling white lights can emulate the winter skies when the clouds roll in.

Cozy Accessories

Even if nobody is snuggling up outdoors, there is still room for a few soft touches you can add to banish the bleak from your deck. Look for durable fabrics such as burlap or synthetics designed for the outdoors and choose bright colors that will contrast with white snow. Place seasonally-decorated throw pillows on benches or arrange several small ornamental pillows on a tabletop. Add pinecones, sprigs of holly, and LED candles to complete your tablescape. Don’t forget to add a few accessories to empty containers that are usually filled with annuals in the spring!

Tie it All Together

Because you and your guests are unlikely to be spending much time on your chilly deck, it’s important to tie the decor in with your indoor areas so it appears unified rather than just left out in the cold. Start by including your front entryway and use the same colors and features as the area in the back of the home. Then, bring in a few small outdoor elements such as evergreen boughs, holly, and pinecones and place them on windowsills or near windows, and a few candles will add the final touch.