The imminent arrival of winter doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a bleak and miserable garden for the next few months. And that doesn’t mean resorting to creosote either- gone are the days when the only way we could add a little colour to our gardens was to add a liberal splash of day glo chemicals to fence panels. Wood paints have come a long way in recent years, so if your fences, sheds and gates are in need of a little bit of TLC now’s the ideal time to do it.

The average DIY store now sells hundreds of different types of paints, many of which have been specifically developed for outdoor use. Landscape designers are always telling us that our outdoor living spaces should reflect who we are as people and be an extension of our homes, so pick colours that make you feel good and link to your interior.

Bright pastel colours are the perfect contrast to a stormy grey sky- particularly helpful if you’re among the 10% of UK dwellers who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge with wall to wall colour, just add a few splashes here and there on planters and garden benches instead.

In terms of plants, there are lots out there that look pretty and add colour all through winter. “Evergreens aren’t always green- you can find plenty of leafed trees and bushes that keep on going and are available in a dazzling array of colours, advises estate agent Robert Leech. Frilly ornamental cabbages come in a range of pinky/purple hues and golden conifers add an opulent, regal touch to any border. Cottonteasters, pyrancantha, holly and blue spruce also look beautiful during the colder months.

Heather: Fluffy, fragrant and great in pots or beds, winter flowering heather comes in shades of purple, pink and white.

Chaenomeles: A hardy yellow woody shrub with cup shaped flowers similar to that of crocuses, this thorny bush looks vibrant against a grey sky.

Cyclamen: These beautiful and delicate plants do equally well in pots and planted direct into soil and produce bright purple, pink and white blooms all the way through to spring time.

Viburnum: Choose evergreen varieties of these stunning, strongly scented pink and white flowers that keep going all winter long.

Hellebores: Also known as the Christmas Rose, this regal looking plant is known for flowering in mid winter and produces stunning blooms of white, green and dark red.

Winter flowering pansies: Easy to care for yet delicate looking, pansies are a staple in most UK gardens and produce a rich variety of colourful petals, from creamy yellows and apricots through to deep purple.

Ornamental cherry trees: Although we tend to think of these as being a spring flower, there are some versions that bloom in the winter too and provide a welcome flourish of candy pink. Look out for prunus subhirtella autumnalis which flowers from October to March.

Winter doesn’t have to mean dark and miserable gardens. Choose the right colours and outdoor accessories, give your exterior proper cleaning, and you can enjoy colour all year round.