There is only one constant when it comes to the landscape, which is that your landscape is always changing. Mother Nature ushers in 4 seasons of blooms, growth, and color but homeowners also share responsibility for changes in the landscape. Both structurally and seasonally, homeowners express their personality and lifestyle through outdoor living spaces. Maintaining the value of your home by creating a home with great curb appeal and modern outdoor living spaces is just as important as indoor remodels and home maintenance. The increased interest of outdoor rooms and kitchens, native plants and low maintenance landscaping all exist within the larger trend of outdoor living. More and more homeowners are investing in their landscapes, specifically within a couple trends that have been exploding over the last year. Let’s take a look at the hottest trends in landscaping for 2016.
The Return of Natural “Ingredients”
The return of natural ingredients includes plants, stone and environmental solutions. For years, the use of pavers that “mimicked” the look of natural stone was a popular choice for hardscapes. Over the last year, more and more customers are returning to natural stone. There are many benefits to pavers but in the end, one cannot replicate what Mother Nature has created on her own. Patterned bluestone, and irregular flagstone, and Valders limestone are all gorgeous natural stones with amazing color variations which can be utilized in patios, walkways and walls. Natural stone also has the benefit of being low maintenance and does not fade over time like pavers can. In the vein of “Reduce, Reuse Recycle” comes the trend of incorporating reclaimed products. Chicago street pavers are a hot commodity and can be used to great effect in the landscape.
When it comes to plants, customers have expressed interest in native plants. However, what we find they are truly looking for is a blend of plants that are low maintenance, easy to grow and offer an abundance of color throughout the landscape. A style of landscape, called “New German Style” re-creates a natural or prairie look in the landscape and is becoming a more frequent request of homeowners. This style is heavy on perennials, but can include native and non-native shrubs and even annuals. It is a planting style based more on plant ecology than aesthetics, created with low maintenance plantings that, once established, require little to no supplemental water, little mulch and little to no pesticides. It includes mixed species in plant “communities” with a high concentration of clumping grasses, arranged in drifts or repeating swatches to create rhythm and movement in the landscape. This style hits most of the landscape goals of today’s homeowners; environmental, colorful, beautiful and low-maintenance.
Perhaps the biggest trend in landscape is the explosion of true outdoor living areas. Think beyond a fire pit or outdoor grill and imagine a true outdoor lounge. These pseudo-buildings mean the outdoor parties don’t have to move indoors for winter. Homeowners can stretch the outdoor entertaining season from 4 months to 8 or even more. By including a roof-style covering which provides shade and protects revelers from the elements, and including fans and heaters, families can host friends and neighbors almost year round in a comfortable atmosphere. Tom Kusmerz, VP of The Barn Nursery says, “Customers in Northern Illinois are spending time on websites like Houzz or watching design shows on HGTV. They see how homeowners enjoy outdoor living in warmer clients. They come to us to replicate these rooms in a way that works for our climate while communicating the look and feel of California or coastal homes.” This trend continues to expand and can be completed in phases. Start with a patio designed to suit the hosting needs of your family. Include an element of light and warmth. The cozy warmth of an outdoor stone fireplace, gas tiki torches, landscape lighting or patio heaters are a great place to start. These elements alone will create an atmosphere of comfort and fun in the backyard.
Your landscape is a personal reflection of your taste and style. While it is fun to keep up with the latest trends, what remains most important is that your landscape meets the needs of your family. The Design Team at The Barn Nursery excels at working with homeowners to develop beautiful and functional landscape designs. Give us a call at 847-658-3883 to set up an appointment with one of us today! Meet our designers by clicking here.