As the warm months of summer begin cooling off with the approach of fall, now is the time to start planning your fall and winter garden. Remember: just because the temperatures drop, you do not have to let your yard turn into a wasteland!

Many plants thrive in cooler temperatures, and the splashes of color and life in your backyard are sure to brighten your spirits. According to Brad Staggs, HGTVPro.com and DIY show producer and host and a licensed contractor, outdoor living spaces represent a continuing trend that shows no signs of slowing down. “Homeowners are using their outdoor living spaces more and more these days, even in the cooler months. Putting forth a little effort now can make your yard a much more inviting place throughout the fall and winter.”

Brad suggests severalgreat projects you can take on now that will serve as the perfect backdrop for your fall and winter plantings:

Planter bench. Enjoy the beauty and functionality of a planter bench. This easy project provides a place to sit as well as a great planter box for your fall mums and asters.

Pergola. Create a beautiful support for sprawling plants such as honeysuckle lonicera, which blooms in the cooler months of fall and winter. Pergolas can be intricate and fancy or simple and timeless. Choose the pergola design based on your home style and the overall feel of your backyard.

Greenhouse. If winter blooms leave you longing for more, why not build a greenhouse to foster the growth of all your favorite plants?

Once you decide on a project, do your homework when it comes to choosing building products. The market is flooded with options right now, but which one is right for you? For strength, durability, beauty and the best environmental choice, choose pressure-treated Southern Pine. Every project listed above can be completed using pressure-treated Southern Pine, and you won’t break the bank in the process. The preservative in the wood works to prevent moisture and insect infiltration, and it can be stained and painted for a true custom touch.

According to Staggs,“It’s always a good idea to use treated lumber in projects that will be exposed to ground contact or outdoor elements on a consistent basis. In fact, check your local building codes: some require the use of treated lumber — which actually works out well for you, the homeowner!”