Landscaping trends are entering an interesting time. Danielle Brubacher of Urban Roots, notes that landscaping trends don’t typically change each year, but there are some really interesting things on the horizon locally in terms of landscaping.

“There are a lot of things we have been talking about for years that are actually starting to be done now, it’s really incredible.”

Multi-purpose
Many people are choosing to move away from the annual flowers, and into edible plants.

“People are becoming more environmentally aware, so they are starting to do away with the expensive, disposable, annual flowers and focusing more on flowers that provide a dual purpose,” notes Brubacher.

Edible plants are more environmentally friendly, but look gorgeous as well.”

In containers, many people are planting rosemary which is draught tolerant, meaning it doesn’t require a lot of watering, and produces beautiful small purple flowers. Planters are also great for cherry tomatoes which have that trailing effect with the vines and provide that pop of colour and serve that dual purpose of being edible as well as aesthetically pleasing.

And the best part is neither of these plants require an especially green thumb.

For landscapes, as opposed to planters, the trend is lending itself toward the High-Bush Blueberry plant as well as other types of fruit trees.

Stonework
Incredibly popular in the early 2000s because of its availability, stonework became a go-to for many landscapers. The trend fell off slightly, but in the last five years has really started to grow again, according to Brubacher.

The trend now, however, is a more natural use of stonework, like boulders for retainer walls and natural stones, creating a more authentic look.

With the stonework, comes low-maintenance plants as well, like succulent plants, including Sedums which are very versatile and don’t require a lot of soil or space, so they can be grown in rocks and produce big, juicy leaves similar in type to a cactus.

Water features
Water features have never really been very popular around here, more so in urban centres, however, incorporating water or working around it has become a particularly useful trend on the North Shore.

Low maintenance is still a top priority for many when it comes to landscaping, so incorporating water may include collecting rain water to use for watering plants or gardens; or having the landscape function as a means of draining water from a problem area.

Ways in which water has been incorporated locally, range from creating a low spot and putting water-rich plants in it to absorb the water, or elegant bird baths or water-collecting features to use for a dual purpose.

Outdoor living space
Gone are the days where you see a huge focus on various beautifully-coloured gardens because, let’s face it, no one has time to maintain that kind of landscape.

What people do want, in particular the younger generations, is an outdoor living area, a comfortable place they can enjoy.

What does that entail?

Sometimes it means patio stones and patio furniture, other times it can mean a space that looks beautiful, but also functions as a safe outdoor space.

“When you walk through any store, whether it be Home Hardware or Kent, you see these unique outdoor furniture pieces and lighting fixtures, and sometimes that is what the entire outdoor space centres around,” explains Brubacher.

Outdoor chandeliers are a huge landscape feature right now. It’s still landscaping, but it is also an extension of the home.

Light fixtures, patio lights, in particular Edison bulbs, are incredibly popular right now because they allow people to enjoy their outdoor space both day and night.

Brubacher says, in the same vein, many people try to create a four-season garden or landscape that they can enjoy all year long.

Pollenating plants
As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, so are their planting choices for landscapes.

Brubacher says people are returning to more heritage plants, original versions of plants that allow insects, like the bee, to pollenate.

“Over time, growers cultivated plants for so long that they no longer smelled or didn’t create pollen. A fine example would be the Double Petunia, it had so many petals that insects couldn’t get to its centre.”

These plants are becoming more simplified, allowing for pollenation.

At the same time, people who are landscaping with trees and larger plants are reverting back to native plants and trees like the Acadian Maples instead of European trees and plants.

Ticks
Reality has set in and people are very aware of the dangers of ticks. It’s gotten to the point where most people fear going outside with their families for fear of getting a tick bite.

Landscapers have been consciously taking this into consideration when designing landscapes, and Brubacher says although it is still a new trend, it is something that is heavy on the minds of landscapers.

With that in mind, many local landscapes are incorporating a safe outdoor environment for children and pets.

What does that include? Well it is still evolving and there are no hard and fast rules, but Brubacher says it can entail cleaning up tree lines, rodent control, better garden and lawn maintenance with no tall grass and no leafy debris, and hard and dry surfaces for a perimeter incorporating things like Pea Gravel.

“And as we learn more, these trends will continue to evolve.” 

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Debbi Harvie
Debbi Harvie is a regular contributor to Ah! She discovered her passion for writing and continues to foster that love in many creative ways. She had a blast learning about the latest trends in outdoor landscaping from the experts at Urban Roots and Artisan Natural Stone for her features "Garden Variety" and "All Fired Up Over Pizza". “Although I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, I could definitely get behind the idea of a brick oven for pizza in my backyard!”