These Natural Landscaping Trends are Taking Shape in 2018

A backyard garden has a small wood deck with set of steps that lead to a sunken garden area with a wooden outdoor furniture set.

A little imperfect, a little in sync, but 100-percent natural, this backyard garden is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and decompress after a long day.

Every year, as the snow begins to melt and flowers start to bloom, it’s natural to look out your window and envision your home surrounded by perfect landscaping.

And, for most of us, when the snow reappears, we’ve gone another year doing nothing about our home’s landscaping, other than making sure the lawn is mowed and the weeds are pulled from our existing landscaping, if we have any.

So, let’s get a jump on those landscaping dreams by looking at the 2018 landscaping trends, according to Garden Media, a company dedicated to inspiring homeowners to build healthy gardening into their lifestyles.

Why should I care about landscaping?

Before we get started on trends for 2018, does this sound familiar? Your day starts with your phone going off at around 7 a.m., and it doesn’t stop until you plug it in just before you get into bed. You feel like you’re tethered to your phone. You feel hassled, harried, tired, anxious. The world feels out of your control.

What would happen, though, if you walked into your home, put your phone on the counter and go into a garden designed to bring you calm, quiet and peace of mind? Impossible? Not at all.

According to a study by Texas A&M University’s Ellison Chair, plants and landscaping help with:

• Concentration and memory

Studies show that those working around nature are more productive and better able to concentrate on the task at hand.

• Overall happiness

Having flowers and ornamental plants in your office, at home or in your yard improves your mood and increase positive energy, making you more relaxed and happier. And the more time you spend outside, surrounded by nature, the more positive your outlook on life.

• Improves relationships and increases compassion

According to the study, the longer you spend time around plants and landscaping, the better your relationships and the more compassion you feel for others.

• Learning

The more time children spend around plants and landscaping, the better they learn and more they concentrate. It even helps those with Attention Deficit Disorder to concentrate and engage with the world around them

It’s clear: the more time you spend outside in your garden, the better you’ll feel. It helps you disconnect, decompress and just feel better.

Trend 1: Landscape for a Changing Climate

The weather seems to have been out of control lately, hasn’t it? Between massive blizzards and snow where there typically isn’t snow to monster hurricanes, like Harvey, it’s becoming more difficult to predict with any accuracy what the weather will be like a year from now.

According to David Wolfe, from Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture, in the book, The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening, “We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or what to expect in the future.”

To make the most of your yard or garden in 2018, it’s important to build landscaping that is flexible enough to change as the climate changes. What you need to look for as you build your landscaping plan is plants that are resilient and hardy enough to deal with what the weather sends its way.

Wind-resistant gardens would include plants that have flexible stems and small, narrow leaves, such as native grasses, evergreen trees, lavender, rosemary and yarrow. Make sure to include in your plans trees and shrubbery that can act as a wind break.

If you’re looking for more rock than plants because you live in a drought-prone area, choose plants that are drought-resistant, such as portulaca, coneflower, catmint, lantana, lavender and Russian sage.

For rainy environments, plant a rain garden that is resistant to being water logged, such as black chokeberry, Colorado blue spruce and winterberry. Make sure your soil is absorbent and has plenty of drainage.

Trend 2: Social Landscaping

When planning your landscaping, instead of looking at each individual plant, tree or shrub, look at all the plants as a network, a social gathering. How do the plants work and communicate together as individuals making up one diverse community?

This type of landscape planning is being embraced by both public and private gardens, such as the Delaware Botanical Garden. Social landscaping fills open areas with greenery, such as sedge, which start out small, then fill in as they grow. To that, add strawberries, butterfly weed, columbine and buffalo grass.

Trend 3: The Imperfect Garden

One of the biggest trends for 2018 is the “imperfect garden.” Forget the perfectly aligned rows of flowers, each separated by landscaping tiles or edging. Instead, embrace what the Japanese call “Wabi Sabi” gardening.

Wabi Sabi is the practice of intentionally placing imperfection into areas of life; in that, the imperfect garden imitates nature, which encourages those imperfections. We stress so much about having everything perfect. Allowing yourself to build imperfection into something as beautiful as a garden releases that responsibility for perfection, giving your stress levels a rest.

For an imperfect garden, include natural materials, such as wood, stone and metal. Repurpose old gates, gardening tools and other items that will change over time, as the garden changes. Then add prairie grass and other ground cover, such as sedge, to help your garden stay green all throughout the year.

As the time for planning your landscaping draws near, it’s fun to explore other ways of making your lawn and garden areas unique and beautiful, without spending a lot of time or money. And the more time you spend in your garden, the more relaxed you’ll be.
Laurie Leiker is a published author, business coach and consumer advocate. She spent 10 years as producer and on-air investigator for the Troubleshooter Tom Martino radio show in Denver, Colo., where she helped consumers get back more than $2 million in one year.

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