What’s trending in landscaping – Mansion Global
Landscaping is much more than annuals and perennials.
The exterior of a property is as fundamental to its appeal as a functional floor plan, a state-of-the-art kitchen, or a spa-like master bathroom. Homeowners these days are taking a well-thought-out approach to landscaping, investing in outdoor pieces, and escaping to their backyards more frequently.
“Covid has triggered a return to home and a return to nature,” said Meredith Forney Beach, principal at Campion Hruby Beach Landscape Architects in Annapolis, Maryland. “Customers place a much higher value on their outdoor spaces.” Ms Forney noted that people are exploring a variety of ways to enjoy their properties outdoors and year-round.
“We really think the pandemic has put the idea of sanctuary and refuge at the forefront of many people’s minds,” added Michal Kapitulnik, director of Surfacedesign Inc., a San Francisco landscaping company. “People are looking for respite in the garden, and they are looking for these garden spaces to be expressive and personal.”
Since many homeowners are spending more time in their yard, it’s an exciting time for landscaping. Here is an overview of landscaping trends.
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Outdoor entertainment areas
“Due to increased outdoor activities during Covid, there has been increased customer demand for expanded options of places to entertain and ‘live’ outside of their homes,” said Stephanie Gentemann, design director at Palmetto Bluff, a residential and recreational preserve in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Inside the house, people enjoy aperitifs in the living room before sharing a meal in the dining room, and they envision a similar scheme outside. “The owners are asking to create an intimate space for cocktails surrounded by walls,” she added. A living fence allows space for libations and mingling next to a larger enclosed space, perfect for a meal.
Ms. Gentemann explained how living fences have become sought after during the pandemic. “While they have long been popular as a more attractive way to delineate the perimeter of a property, there has been an increase in demand for living fences to create rooms outside, expressly for entertaining,” a- she explained.
These living fences are rows of low posts of shrubs or wood with a top and bottom rail filled with hog wire; Climbing vines sprout from the base, forging a partition of greenery with fragrant flowers opening a few times a year, according to Ms Gentemann.
Large architectural pieces like pergolas, fire pits and chimneys introduce scale and often define the exterior rooms of a property. These too are in fashion.
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“Everyone wants to add elements to their outdoor spaces that allow them to spend more time outdoors, not just day-to-day but throughout the year,” Ms. Forney Beach noted. Pergolas provide shade on hot summer days, and fireplaces and fire pits provide warmth on cool nights.
“It’s pretty rare that a client doesn’t request a gas fireplace in an outdoor room or entertainment space,” added Cathy Purple Cherry, founder of Purple Cherry Architects in Annapolis, Maryland. “Especially in our view-oriented properties, which beg owners to sit outside and enjoy the view by the fireplace.” Fire pits inject ambiance and style into an outdoor space just as they do inside a home. Likewise, fire pits can become the focal point of a patio or yard.
Gardens highlight more than plants and cobblestones. Homeowners are embracing the decorative side of landscaping, incorporating distinctive features and accessories into their outdoor rooms.
“Similar to art on interior walls, accent pillows or a beautiful vase, pots, ornaments and sculptures throughout the garden add another layer of interest and personality,” Ms. Forney Beach said. Adding ornamental elements imbues a homeowner’s style while providing opportunities for seasonal plant rotation, she explained. “Pots can showcase the changing seasons and even use plants that wouldn’t otherwise grow in a particular climate.”
In Surfacedesign projects, furniture can be “more of a playful splurge in the garden,” Ms. Kapitulnik said. His team used the fun yet sculptural Ishigami chairs for classes, sprinkling pieces across the landscape. The company often turns to artists for garden accessories and whimsical seating. Hardscape materials can also stimulate creativity. “In an ongoing project, we’ve sculpted boulders to create sculptural seating elements that read like oversized geodes in the garden,” Ms Kapitulnik added.
Outdoor spaces are now as essential to life as indoor spaces. Yards, patios, and other outdoor spaces have become extensions of the interior, as lines blur between indoors and outdoors, and homeowners yearn for outdoor experiences.
“The trend we’re focused on is creating not only the desired mood, but creating experiences through design, plantings and elements,” said Tim Salka, senior landscape architect at Ryan Hughes Design. Build in Tampa, Florida. “While family composition may dictate the outdoor spaces and rooms we design, we use the latest innovations and creativity for unique experiences.”
Landscaping accentuates and enhances all outdoor living spaces, noted Mr. Salka. For example, he and his team built a custom beach for a bespoke backyard in which the placement of rocks gave owners a launching pad for kiteboarding, the family pastime.
Another way designers shape an outdoor experience is to use the element of water.
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“Scientists explain that seeing or hearing the soothing sounds of moving water triggers a response in our brains that induces a flood of neurochemicals,” said Purple Cherry. “These chemicals increase blood flow to the brain and heart, which causes relaxation.” Mrs. Purple Cherry suggests creating a garden oasis by installing a decorative recirculating water fountain.
Today, sustainability is at the forefront of countless industries, including landscaping. Due to climate awareness, homeowners are consciously making more environmentally friendly choices, both inside and outside their homes.
“People are thinking about water use and habitat and broader ideas of sustainability,” Ms Kapitulnik said. “We also saw people thinking about how they can participate as stewards of the land through their gardens.”
Whether it’s a small lot in a big city or a large lot in a rural area, landscaping has a significant impact on the environment. Brandy Hall, landscaper, permaculture expert and founder and CEO of Shades of Green Permaculture in Avondale Estates, Georgia, explained that people are wondering how they can be part of the solution to the climate crisis.
“We are seeing a shift from customers wanting expansive lawns and perfect grass to environmentally friendly green spaces that use native plants,” Ms. Hall said.
The native plants grew naturally in an area without human intervention. These native plantations provide the most sustainable habitat for wildlife and often require the least maintenance, undeniably supporting an area’s ecosystem.
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“Landscapes that feature native wildflowers and exhibit a range of bloom times (spring through summer, fall, and even winter) provide nectar and pollen for birds, bees, and butterflies throughout of the year,” added Ms. Kapitulnik.
As part of sustainable landscaping, water harvesting is also gaining ground, Hall noted. “Not only are homeowners looking for solutions to cistern irrigation, but rain gardens are a growing trend,” she said. “They allow rain to slow down, accumulate, and soak into the ground, which can help protect against long-term flooding or drought.”
Ms Hall said eco-friendly landscape design is likely to be trending in 2022 and beyond as more clients learn about ways to protect biodiversity, support pollinators, store carbon in their soil, restore the water cycle and grow their own produce.
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