“The latest trends reflect the desire to bring the indoors out – to create comfortable landscapes that are both functional and beautiful,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “At the same time, we’re seeing a shift toward sustainable landscapes that reflect a renewed sense of mindfulness for the Earth and its ecosystems.”Specifically, NALP anticipates increased consumer interest in and adoption of the following six trends:
- Fully customized outdoor living spaces. As more and more homeowners entertain outdoors and make the most of time spent outside, landscapes have become extensions of interior spaces, complete with furniture and appliances. Beyond basic decks and patios, more landscapes this year will be transformed into full-service kitchens with brick ovens and grills, comfortable living and dining rooms featuring fireplaces and firepits, and romantic canopy bedrooms. Themed spaces, such as yoga gardens or bocce fields, further personalize outdoor retreats to fit homeowners’ interests.
- Lighted and high-tech landscapes. A natural extension of the outdoor living trend is equipping these landscapes with creative and functional lighting and technological enhancements. Dramatic and boldly colored lights, twinkling accent lighting in walkways, backyard Wi-Fi and TV installations are just some of the ways gardens are getting tech-savvy in 2016.
- Eco-friendly and native gardens. “Naturescaping” – selecting and growing native plants to attract birds, insects and wildlife – is one method landscapers will continue to employ in 2016 to appeal to an increased interest in developing environmentally conscious landscapes. Busy homeowners seek simply beautiful landscapes that are easy to maintain, and naturescaping encourages the use of low-maintenance perennial native plants and innately manages water runoff. The installation of solar-powered lighting or energy-efficient LED lights is another way landscapes will go green this year.
- Edible landscapes. The demand for low-maintenance options has made container gardens, which often do not require extensive care, grow in popularity. When combined with a preference for the natural and organic, a new trend emerges: edible landscapes. Fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables add texture and color variety to landscapes, while providing a fresh supply of delicious ingredients. Not limited to individual home gardens, edible landscapes will be planned and planted by landscape developers in neighborhoods and community residences in 2016.
- Freshwater features. The techniques used to manage storm water will not be hidden in 2016. Rain barrels, rain gardens and stone retaining walls add stunning dimension to lush landscapes, while serving an important purpose of collecting, cleaning or stopping water. In fact, water and other non-plant features, including sculptures or pottery, are becoming focal points in landscapes.
- Soothing hues. For the first time, Pantone, the authority on color and provider of color systems and technology for color communication, has announced the blending of two colors – Rose Quartz and Serenity – as its Pantone Color of the Year for 2016. Expect these soft, nature-inspired pink and blue hues to bloom in gardens this year as heritage rose bushes, Catherine Woodbury daylilies, Angelique tulips, blue lace delphinium, French hydrangea and others.