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6 Landscaping Trends with Staying Power

Your landscape needs to last.

Which means, when you’re working with your landscape architect to plan your new yard, “trends” may or may not serve you well. You want a landscape design you will still love in a few years (remember mullets?), and you also want an idea or feature whose downsides or flaws have already been discovered.

You do want fresh ideas. But you want proven ideas, too.

While “trendy trends” can be appealing, at Hursthouse, we love concepts that come to the forefront through testing and experience. We pay attention to the evolving patterns of landscape architecture so that we can offer our clients solid, contemporary options to meet their landscape design needs. We often watch ideas that start in other parts of the country to see which ones truly work – and minimize misfires for our own clients.

Here are 6 trends in the landscape industry that also have proven staying power.

1. Color and variety

When is a hydrangea not just a hydrangea? When it’s one of countless varieties now being used to add greater color and variety to your landscape.

The Quick Fire hydrangea is one such variety. It has a nice pyramidal, upright flower that opens in light-medium pink, but darkens as the summer goes on. By September, it’s a fabulous raspberry red, adding a vibrant splash to a fall landscape. And while some new varieties of hydrangea haven’t performed well when first introduced, the Quick Fire has been around long enough to prove itself.

The Annabelle hydrangea is another proven variety – it’s a traditional, sturdy plant, but its big blooms often fall over and weigh the plant down. Newer varieties have sturdier stems and smaller blooms that won’t overload the shrub. Now when you want blooms the size of softballs, you can pick the exact right height and size hydrangea to complete your landscape and add visual variety.

2. Smaller lawns with vertical elements

With the proliferation of organized sports and bigger houses going up on smaller lots, an acre of perfectly manicured lawn is rarely the dream yard anymore. Lawns are getting smaller.

Finding resourceful ways to “move up instead of out” is a trend in these smaller landscape areas. In a smaller space, vertical pieces offer beauty without taking up much room. Trellises are one example – they give visual appeal, but can also cultivate vines or even a vertical garden. A decorative laser-cut aluminum screen instead of a cedar fence is another great vertical element if you need privacy and don’t want to sacrifice space.

3. Bigger patios

While lawns may be getting smaller, patios are not. There’s a reason the term “hardscape” has come into use! People love to have a place to entertain and relax, and backyards are getting a little more complex than a round grill on a concrete slab.

You can now have the interior of your home spill right out into the exterior. Your landscape can become a true outdoor living space, with the kinds of elements you’d expect to find inside available to enjoy in the outdoors as well. In fact, the next few trends are great examples of just that…

4. Outdoor kitchens

Except for a microwave, there’s not much you’ll find in a modern kitchen that’s not also being placed outdoors these days. But just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should! More isn’t always better.

For Hursthouse, the most fun part of landscape design is creating a space that’s optimized to how your family actually lives. So if you’re a real foodie, we can install a hybrid grill that burns both gas and charcoal to create numerous culinary delights. Or maybe a countertop pizza oven is exactly what would make weekends with the family perfect.

5. Outdoor media rooms

Of course, if we’re talking modern trends, you know that technology has to play a part. With weatherproof and all-exterior products like big, flat screen Sunbrite TVs, stereo surround sound, and wifi, a good landscape architect can take your home tech and move it outside. And more and more clients are asking us to do just that.

After all – who needs tailgating, when you can watch a fall football game in the fresh air with the comforts of home right at your fingertips?

6. Extending the outdoor season

When it gets cold in Chicago, it gets cold! Perhaps that’s why it’s also popular to find creative and effective ways to extend outdoor time later into the year.

How? By adding more warmth to the outdoor space.

Fire pits are one great way to do just that; they offer both warmth and beauty, whether they’re very simple or wonderfully ornate. Heaters are another great way to keep the chill at bay. Whether mobile or permanently installed, a heater can turn your single-season yard into a three-season living space.

Whether it’s the landscaping itself or the features that accompany it, it’s always interesting to see the latest innovations that bring a fresh angle to how we enjoy the outdoors. Some trends do come and go, but the desire to truly enjoy the beauty of your back yard with family and friends is here to stay. And Hursthouse loves being able to help you do just that!