Balancing trendy touches with classic appeal can be tricky in your home and even trickier in your outdoor spaces. After all, you can always repaint a wall, but no one wants to tear up their entire hedge every year.
Luckily for you, we consulted with experts on the top landscaping trends that homeowners are loving right now—and that won’t go out of style any time soon. So take a good look at your landscaping and decide whether it’s time for a revamp. If so, these tricks from the pros will keep your lawn and gardens looking cutting-edge all summer long—and maybe next summer, too.
Sustainability is by far the biggest trend in outdoor spaces these days—and you can implement it in your plant selections, hardscaping, and even lighting choices.
An easy way to make your lawn scream “sustainable”? Protect your pollinators.
“Creating pollinator-friendly gardens is something a lot of our professionals have been helping people with,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. In fact, the 2017 Houzz Landscape Trends study found that interest in insect/bird-attractant and native plants is up since 2015.
Not sure where to start? Use a website such as Pollinator Partnership to figure out how to plant the best buffet for the bees in your region.
Then add eco-friendly features such as LED bulbs in pools, fountains, or other outdoor lighting. You can also take your green living to the next level by upcycling household goods into garden accessories.
Craig Jenkins-Sutton, co-founder of the urban landscape design firm Topiarius, recommends using an old paint can or toolbox as a planter or colander as a hanging basket.
“We also like to incorporate sustainable hardscape materials such as composite woods and turf stabilizers that limit the need or use of stone for driveways and terraces,” says Keith Williams, a partner at Nievera Williams.
2. Edible gardens
Once you’ve fed the hummingbirds, why not feed yourself? Edible gardens aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, but they’ve been making a comeback in recent years as homeowners realize the money they can save by growing their own veggies, fruits, and herbs, while embracing the very real health benefits.
“Locally grown food offers a safer food supply chain, and it’s full of flavor and contains high nutrient values,” Jenkins-Sutton says.
And you don’t need much space, either. Herbs such as bay, oregano, basil, chives, sage, and rosemary do well in summer heat and will thrive near a sunny windowsill. You can also plant edible gardens in containers on small patches of lawn, which will “provide those functional aspects and also beauty as well,” Henriksen adds.
Ready to rock? Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, has noticed more customers asking for river rock in their landscaping and garden beds.
“It never has to be redressed or redone next season as it’s a one-time cost; it has a real return on investment,” Clayton says. “People are just tired of wasting money year after year on mulch, straw, or other organic materials to put in the gardens.”
The thing about rocks is they’re hardy—wind, rain, and other weather conditions aren’t going to wreak havoc on them. Plus, you can carry this concept into your plant selections as well.
Williams recommends “drought-tolerant, wind-tolerant, and low-maintenance plant materials to encourage a healthy ecosystem and provide aesthetic beauty to gardens.”
Hygge, the Scandinavian lifestyle sensation that’s all about maximizing comfort, doesn’t just mean holing up inside with a fluffy blanket and a cup of tea. You can create coziness in your outdoor space, too—and feel more peaceful and connected year-round.
If you wish you had jumped aboard this trend, like, yesterday, it’s not too late. There’s still plenty of summer left to get your hygge on outside. Try adding a fire pit, water features, or a unique lighting design. Or you could simply arrange your furniture so that it’s more conducive to conversations.
5. Vivid colors
“My clients have been asking for brilliant summer colors from spring to frost,” says Steve Griggs, the owner of Steve Griggs Design. “These include knockout roses, endless summer hydrangeas, and new-wave petunias.“
There’s no need to despair if you have a small space. Jenkins-Sutton recommends shrubs such as the Little Ragu Sweet Bay, dwarf boxwoods, or a dwarf lilac tree.
If you’ve filled your plant quota and are still feeling insufficiently festive, consider adding some bold accent pieces.
“For pops of color, most people think of using flowering shrubs or vines for color in their gardens, and that is absolutely fine but not always dependable,” Williams says. “I like to use containers or planters as a constant color source. Outdoor fabrics and or umbrellas with colors and patterns are also a reliable option for bright colors.”
6. Shades of green
This one gives a new meaning to “going green.” We love that big, bold colors are in, but you can make just as much of a statement with variations of one color. Yep—green is in. (Just ask the folks at Pantone, who named “Greenery” the 2017 color of the year.)
“When you think of softscape or the plants that go in your landscape, we think of flowers or things that provide colors that pop, but we’re also seeing people using palettes of greens themselves,” Henriksen says. “We’re really seeing [greenery] at the forefront of the design industry and in landscape design as well. It can really create a very impactful design.”
Try using a variety of different shrubberies, textures, or patterns such as an ivy trellis or multilevel design.
7. Vertical gardens
Photo by JKT Associates Inc.
Don’t have the square footage to put in a garden? Don’t feel down—look up! Vertical gardens have become the darling of homeowners who are cramped for space but want a fresh perspective.
“Vertical gardens are very, very popular right now, both indoors and outdoors,” Henriksen says.
You can go big or small with your living wall; just make sure you find the light and select the best plants to thrive.