What’s Trending in Landscaping – Mansion Global
Landscaping is much more than annuals and perennials.
A property’s exterior is as fundamental to its allure as a functional floor plan, ultramodern kitchen, or spa-like master bath. Nowadays, homeowners are taking a well thought-out approach to landscape design, investing in outdoor rooms and escaping more frequently to their backyards.
“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. “Clients are placing a much higher value on their exterior spaces.” Ms. Forney noted that people are exploring various ways to enjoy their properties outside and year-round.
“We definitely think the pandemic has brought the idea of sanctuary and refuge to the forefront of many people’s minds,” added Michal Kapitulnik, principal at Surfacedesign Inc., a landscape design firm in San Francisco. “People are looking for respite in the garden, and they are looking for those garden spaces to be expressive and personal.”
Since many homeowners are spending more time in their yards, it’s an exciting moment for landscaping. Here’s a glimpse at what’s trending in landscape design.
More: Summer Tablescapes: Curating an Eye-Catching Outdoor Hosting Area
Al Fresco Entertaining Spaces
“Due to the increase in outdoor activities during Covid, there has been enhanced demand by clients for expanded options for places to entertain and “live” outside the confines of their homes,” said Stephanie Gentemann, director of design at Palmetto Bluff, a residential and recreational preserve in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Inside the home, folks enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the living room before sharing a meal in the dining room, and they envision a similar pattern outside. “Homeowners are asking to create an intimate space for cocktails surrounded by walls,” she added. A living fence allows space for libations and mingling alongside a larger enclosed area, 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 cordon off the perimeter of a property, there has been an uptick in requests for living fences to create rooms outdoors, expressly for entertaining,” she explained.
These living fences are lines of low shrubbery or wood posts with a top and bottom rail filled with a hog wire screen; climbing vines grow up from the base, forging a partition of greenery with fragrant flowers opening a few times a year, according to Ms. Gentemann.
An example of a living fence.
Large architectural pieces like pergolas, fire pits and fireplaces introduce scale and often define a property’s outdoor rooms. These, too, are trending.
More: Grouping Artwork Like the Pros
“Everyone wants to add elements to their outdoor spaces that allow them to spend more time outside, not only day to day but throughout the year,” Ms Forney Beach noted. Pergolas provide shade on hot summer days, and fireplaces and fire pits offer warmth on chilly nights.
“It’s quite rare when a client doesn’t request a gas fire pit in an outdoor room or entertaining area,” added Cathy Purple Cherry, founder of Purple Cherry Architects in Annapolis, Maryland. “Especially in our view-oriented properties, which beg for homeowners’ to sit outside and enjoy the view by the fire.” Fireplaces inject ambiance and style into an outside space as they do inside a home. Likewise, fire pits can become the focal point of a patio or courtyard.
Gardens spotlight more than plants and pavers. Homeowners are embracing the decorative side of landscaping, incorporating distinctive elements and accessories into their outdoor rooms.
“Similar to art on interior walls, decorative throw 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 infuses a homeowner’s style while offering opportunities for seasonal plant rotations, she explained. “Pots can showcase the changing seasons and even utilize plants that wouldn’t otherwise grow in a particular climate.”
Surface design incorporated boulders as seating element.
In Surfacedesign’s projects, furniture may be “more of a playful folly in the garden,” Ms. Kapitulnik said. Her team has used the fun yet sculptural Ishigami chairs for yards, sprinkling pieces among the landscape. The firm often turns to artists for garden accessories and whimsical seating. Hardscape materials can also spur creativity. “In one current project, we have carved into boulders to create sculptural seating elements that read like oversized geodes in the garden,” Ms. Kapitulnik added.
Surfacedesign’s playful Ishigami chairs at a residence in San Francisco.
Exterior spaces are now as quintessential to living as indoor spaces. Yards, patios and other outdoor areas have become extensions of the interior, as lines blur between the inside and outside, and homeowners long for al fresco experiences.
“The trend we are focused on is the creation of not only the desired vibe but creating experiences through design, plantings and elements,” said Tim Salka, senior landscape architect at Ryan Hughes Design Build in Tampa, Florida. “While the makeup of the family may dictate the areas and outdoor rooms that we are designing, within those, we are utilizing the latest innovation and creativity for one-of-a-kind experiences.”
Experiences Ryan Hughes Design Build.
Jimi Smith Photography
Landscaping is accenting and enhancing all outdoor living areas, Mr. Salka noted. For example, he and his team built a custom beach for a bespoke backyard in which rock placement allowed the homeowners a launchpad for kitesurfing, the family’s hobby.
Another way designers fashion an experience outside is through a water element.
More: Pops of Color, Bright Art and Thoughtful Fixtures: Illuminating Tips on Brightening up a Room
“Scientists explain that seeing or hearing the soothing sounds of moving water triggers a response in our brains that induces a flood of neurochemicals,” Ms. Purple Cherry said. “These chemicals increase blood flow to the brain and heart, which causes relaxation.” Ms. Purple Cherry suggests curating a backyard oasis by installing a decorative recirculating water fountain.
Pool fountain project by Purple Cherry Architects and Campion Hruby Landscape Architects
Eco friendly design
Sustainability lies at the forefront of countless industries nowadays, landscape design included. Due to climate awareness, homeowners are consciously making more eco-friendly choices both on the interior and exterior of their homes.
“People are thinking about water use and habitat and broader ideas of sustainability,” Ms. Kapitulnik said. “We have also seen people thinking of how they can participate as stewards of the land through their gardens.”
Whether it’s a small lot in a big city or a sprawling plot in a rural area, landscaping significantly impacts the environment. Brandy Hall, landscape designer, permaculture expert, and founder and managing director of Shades of Green Permaculture in Avondale Estates, Georgia, explained that people are wondering how they can be part of the climate crisis’s solution.
A garden that creates habitat by SurfaceDesign
“We’re seeing a shift from clients wanting expansive lawns and perfect grass to ecologically-aware plant spaces that use native plants,” Ms Hall said.
Native plants have developed naturally in a region without human involvement. These indigenous plantings provide the most sustainable habitat for wildlife and often require less maintenance, undeniably supporting an area’s ecosystem.
More: Brown Is the New Black: How to Design Dramatically With This Hue
More clients are interested in native plants Shades of Green Permaculture.
“Landscapes that feature native wildflowers and showcase a range of flowering times (from spring through the summer, fall and even winter) offer nectar and pollen for birds, bees and butterflies throughout the year,” Ms. Kapitulnik added.
Within sustainable landscape design, harvesting water is also gaining traction, Ms Hall noted. “Not only do homeowners seek solutions to irrigation through cisterns, but rain gardens are a growing trend,” she said. “They allow rain to slow down, pool and infiltrate into the soil, which can contribute to protecting against long-term flooding or drought.”
Surfacedesign blurred the line with the surrounding landscape at this property in the Santa Cruz Mountains collaborated with Olson Kundig Architects, Siteworks Landscape.
Ms. Hall said eco-friendly landscape design will likely trend in 2022 and beyond as more clients inquire about ways to protect biodiversity, support pollinators, store carbon in their soil, restore the water cycle and grow their own produce.
Click to read more news and stories about luxury home design