“The top 2018 landscape trends reflect an evolution of the outdoor living trend we’ve seen grow in popularity over the past few years. Stimulated by a healthy economy, homeowners and property managers are innovating their landscapes in fun new ways. Recognizing the tremendous value that beautiful and functional landscapes bring to homes and commercial properties, today’s landscapes are built to last so they can be used and enjoyed through all the seasons, year after year.”
– Missy Henriksen, National Association of Landscape Professionals
When I say the word “trend” where does your mind go? If you’re anything like me, it’s straight to the fickle world of fashion and retail, where, in the not-too-recent past, people actually wore JUICY bottom sweat pants, Crocs, trucker hats and fanny packs because someone, somewhere told them it was trendy… Thankfully, most of these items have disappeared from the main stream scene, living out the rest of their existence in quiet exile and maybe equally as fortunate, the landscape design universe is a lot more forgiving when it comes to fads.
Every year, innovative and exciting ideas, plants and design elements make their way into the spotlight, giving professional and amateur green thumbs, alike, a healthy dose of fresh inspiration and stunning aspirations (#gardengoals)! And while some trends are just modern updates on the conventional classics, others seem to be really breaking new ground…
The Japanese art of ‘Wabi-sabi’
There’s an inspiring new way of looking at your garden which is good news for the more hands-off among us. ‘Wabi-sabi’ is a Japanese art which has been practiced since the 15th century. In short, it is an acceptance of the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.
The key here is balancing nature and nurture, so sit back, relax and reflect on the beauty of your garden’s natural imperfections. Overgrown perennials, moss-covered stones, rusty iron gates and weathered pots are suddenly bang on-trend. Heck yes.
Continued interest in outdoor living spaces
Many people automatically design outdoor dining spaces right off the back of the house. But making an all-inclusive destination within the landscape immerses people in the luxurious experience and ambiance of your garden. So what if it means more practice of your plate/wine glass balancing act, the results are definitely worth it!
Here are 4 tips for creating the ultimate outdoor party zone:
- Surround the space with in-ground and container plants for a lush and cozy feeling
- Turn your dining area into a sanctuary with special flooring and lighting
- Include pre- and post-dinner entertainment spaces nearby, such as a fire pit, game station or pool
- Consider adding a dedicated living area with comfy furniture and indoor/outdoor accessories because alfresco isn’t just for eating anymore!
Having a furry friend and a beautifully landscaped yard do not need to be mutually exclusive. Dogscaping, or landscaping with a dog in mind, means additions like specific potty areas, shady sheltered spots, designated paths for fence border patrol and water features like a special drinking spigot or bone-shaped wading pool. Every breed and every need is unique but with a little creativity, both you and Fido can have the backyard of your dreams.
Emphasizing water management and conservation
A buzzword for years, sustainability in landscaping is more than a trend. It influences how landscapes are created and maintained now and in the years to come. In particular, the integration of eco-friendly watering practices are expected to continue taking off in 2018, including the use of plants native to a region (which generally use less water), xeriscaping (planning a landscape to use low-water use plants), and smarter irrigation technology. Conscientious lifestyle changes can happen before even setting foot through the front door!
Pushing the seasonal boundaries
Even the most devoted snow lover has to confront a harsh truth sooner or later: An empty landscape is a dreary landscape. However, during the dormant season, dazzling color and sophisticated textures are possible. But you gotta have faith… and a PLAN!
Select plants and combinations that marry toughness, color, and texture. Furthermore, contrast—dark trunks, bright green conifers, and fiery branches like red dogwood, for example—make for an excellent strategy.
When choosing plants for winter interest, look for the following:
- Deciduous shrubs or trees with colorful or peeling bark
- Evergreens that change color in winter
- Early bloomers that bring late winter flowers
Enhanced equipment and technology
The latest yard tools on the market consider ease of use and storage while incorporating more eco-friendly innovations. Many lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and similar equipment feature low or no emissions, are battery-powered, and are quieter. Many lawn and garden tools are also designed to stack or fold to fit in the garage or shed. Professionals are also integrating more technology—mobile apps, 3-D modeling and drones—into landscape planning. This is the future, people, and while a garden’s worth cannot be measured by the size of its tool shed, some user friendly gadgets never hurt!
Due to rapidly expanding cities and sprawling suburbs – spaces that have been designed for convenience and aesthetics, with little thought to the needs of local wildlife – many once thriving species are showing a decline in population like bees, butterflies, birds, frogs and turtles. Yet, there’s no reason why we can’t create convenient, beautiful landscapes that also meet the needs of many, if not most, of our animal neighbors. Do some research when selecting plant types and varieties, as you may not be the only one using your backyard for sanctuary…
Here are some great ideas for creating a habitat garden:
- Grow both seed-producing and berry-bearing plants
- Restrict or stop using insecticides
- Include multiple pollen- and nectar-producing flowers, shrubs and trees
Playful patterns and contemporary colors
While the simple elegance of greenery was all the rage last year, 2018 appears to be full of rich hues and lighthearted whimsy. “Patterned” plants are now taking center stage, revered for their intricate details such as striped leaves or brightly colored veins. And with Ultra Violet named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design, landscape professionals expect to integrate more violets, verbena, clematis, iris, and other purple flowers into landscapes. This will definitely be the year that purple reigns!
So now that you’re ‘in the know’, what fads will you follow? What trends will you try?… Hmm, what’s that you say…? You’ll make your own..? You little rebels, you…
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