Each spring an assortment of landscape magazines and websites from coast to coast run stories and blogs on trends. Sometimes they will quote from empirical data and sometimes they consult with organizations or industry experts.
Over the years I have been interviewed and quoted numerous times by many of those magazines. When commenting, I draw from personal experience on what seems to be resonating with my clients. The list of landscaping trends always changes but for the moment here is how I see “the lay of the landscape”.
- Fire pits, fire tables, fire bowls are all………well, on fire. From a simple boulder pit to the most elaborate gas fed devices, fire in the landscape is still in vogue. It gets people out in the landscape earlier in the season and keeps them outside later in the season. It’s almost un-American not to like a good roasted marshmallow on an October night.
- Low voltage LED lighting. The demand is off the charts. While fire sources extend the season, lighting extends the time each day that the yard and patio can be used. We rarely do sophisticated design that does not include some type of lighting package. It’s a lot more fun enjoying a cold beverage with friends on your patio than jammed into the kitchen on a warm summer night.
- Outdoor kitchens were unheard of in the Midwest twenty years ago. And while they are expensive components, they create entertainment opportunities far beyond the old Weber kettle.
- Rectilinear patio spaces are overtaking curvilinear spaces in well-developed landscape design. When potential clients ask for a curved, asymmetric patio I usually inquire to them, “How many curved, asymmetrical rooms are in your home”? After all, the patio(s) is an outdoor room.
- Container plantings are another developing trend. Containers in the landscape are like decorating accessories inside. Each year I do more and more container plantings as part of the overall landscape design. Sometimes the containers are annual rotations but herbs for cooking are also in vogue. We are no longer relegated to a clay pot filled with zinnias and marigolds.
- Pergolas, arbors and vertical structures have been and will continue to be part of the landscape on a more routine basis. Each of the last 10 years the number of wood structures we design and install continues to go up and up.
As solid design elements you should expect to see all of the above items as continued landscape trends throughout the 2015 season.