CHOOSING THE RIGHT KIND OF HEDGE
The secrets to creating a beautiful green wall
With renewed enthusiasm for the outdoors, today’s homeowners are embracing thoughtful design, stylish plantings and smart technology to enhance their landscapes as extensions of their homes. Drawing upon the expertise of landscape professionals across the country, the National Association of Landscape Professionals has released its list of the top seven outdoor living trends expected for 2017.
1. Going green with all types of greenery. Vibrant green will take center stage in landscapes this year. Combining greenery of various textures and shades, such as a formal hedge of green velvet boxwood, a border of green lilyturf and dense Boston ivy-covered trellises, is just as impactful as a garden filled with a rainbow of colorful flowers. In fact, Greenery was selected by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems, as its Color of the Year for 2017. Pantone noted that Greenery is now moving into the forefront in the design industry — and landscape designs are no exception.
2. Bringing “hygge” outdoors. Homeowners have become more interested in holistic landscapes that promote well-being. The Danish concept of hygge is all about creating an atmosphere of coziness by embracing the simple pleasures of life. Decorating with light, arranging seating for close-knit conversation, planting aromatic flowers and adding outdoor water features to encourage mindfulness are a few ways to integrate hygge into landscapes, and to find more enjoyment and fulfillment in outdoor spaces.
3. Creating tech-savvy exterior kitchens. With the outdoor living trend here to stay, more homeowners are investing in exterior kitchens than in years past. Well beyond basic grilling stations and dining sets, these full-scale kitchens marry the enjoyment of the great outdoors with indoor conveniences. Today’s outdoor kitchens can be equipped with “smart home” technology — for example, built-in consoles on refrigerator doors, mobile app-controlled LED lighting and ovens integrated with Wi-Fi.
4. Mixing up materials. Anything but uniform, more landscapes in 2017 will feature the integration of several forms of hardscape materials. From pebble paths bookended with stone planters to wooden decks adorned with iron gates and railings, smart pairings of materials can create a less formal and more playful approach to landscapes.
5. Prioritizing pollinators. Increased attention on the importance of pollinators to our ecosystem has inspired homeowners to develop gardens that specifically attract vital honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies. No longer a specialty subset of gardens, more homeowners are asking landscape professionals how to select native plantings that are abundant, year-round nectar sources throughout their yards, and the best ways to maintain these natural havens. Along with LED lighting, eco-friendly materials, and edible gardens, pollinator gardens are a reflection of consumers’ continued interest in sustainable landscapes.
6. Growing “smart” lawns. Through selective breeding of plants, turfgrass seed producers have made significant advancements in developing cultivated grass varieties, called cultivars, that are designed to be smarter. They can better withstand the elements while still delivering an aesthetically beautiful and healthy lawn, making them especially desirable in drought-prone areas. Modern cultivars also enhance the environmental benefits of lawns, including the production of oxygen, while the latest strides in irrigation technology helps conserve water.
7. Taking landscapes to new heights — and unusual places. The commercial landscape industry first pioneered “green roofs” atop city skyscrapers. Now, we’re seeing green roofs and living gardens in unexpected settings, such as ballpark restaurants or even double-decker buses. Homeowners are thinking above the ground level when it comes to their landscapes, too.
Savvy homeowners are seeking smart landscape solutions, which means professionals are finding new ways to adapt to environmental elements, making continued advances in technology and taking outdoor living to the next level. At the same time, a return to simple plantings reflects that although innovation in landscaping continues to accelerate, savoring the effortless beauty of the outdoors remains a top priority. For more information on bringing out the best in your landscape this year, talk with a landscape professional in your area.