Guest Post by Lana Hawkins
Taking care of one’s own garden brings relaxation and there is nothing more rewarding than enjoying it after it is all done. That is reason enough to reinvent your garden this year. The 2016 backyard design trends bring us new ideas and styles and redefine gardening. Here are some innovations to help get you started.
More and more homeowners are looking for gardens that are aesthetically pleasing yet require low maintenance. The reasons are both economic and environmental. Sustainable gardening revolves around functionality primarily. Thoughtful plant selection, meaning fewer plants and choosing plants that serve a purpose, has become a norm in landscape design.
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The plants are picked out for their easy-care blooms, multi-season appeal, or edibility, rather than decorativeness. Also, less turfgrass is present and a more natural looking lawns are being grown. This look implies less herbicides since weeds are seen as a natural part of a garden.
There are less concrete pavers. Pavers are now made from recycled plastic and rubber. Given that water is considered an expensive resource, its conservation has become a major concern.
Stormwater management solutions are taking a new turn. Instead of simple rain gardens, we are now seeing rain harvesting features, such as catchment ponds, that serve as an auxiliary water source. Xeriscaping is another emerging trend that concerns the conservation of water. As a way to conserve it, gardeners are opting for plants that take little water.
Glasshouses have a functional quality and look stunning. Fill the glasshouse with fragrant plants, like jasmine or gardenia, and create a divine and confined Zen space.
More Quality, Less Bling
Over-the-top gardens are out. Now, homeowners turn to quality and subtlety. They prefer natural materials and mild colours. Instead of showy decorative elements, interesting edging, colourful spring or summer flower displays, grasses that flower late season, and intricate branching patterns on shrubs are more appreciated.
Also, feature walls act as outdoor art. A bring colour wall that catches the eye is a simple yet effective statement. A red or pink wall brings warmth and adds energy, and goes really well with the abundant greenery.
The sound of water in the garden is so soothing. Water features are popular across all budgets. However, there has been a change from whimsical fountains, to self-contained systems and earthy ponds and streams. The quiet ponds are decorated with small pebbles, medium rock and large boulders to get a more natural appearance. Also, natural water courses are left to spill over the garden.
In 2016, the focus shifted from hardscaping to planting. ‘Gardening with a purpose’ should be your motto this year. Gardens that do double duty, giving you food and enhancing the look of your backyard, are the hottest trend. After all, plants are easier to move and replace, and bring softness and peace that homeowners are looking for.
Blended gardens combine fruits, vegetables and herbs, with ornamentals. There is an increased interest in natives and plants that attract pollinators. Younger generations are especially interested in growing their own food and composting. We have people growing hops and grapes to make their own beer and wine.
People are taking advantage of the medicinal benefits of certain plants. They plant feverfew, greenthread, catnip, and alfalfa for their natural healing properties. Calendula is also a popular choice. It is used to produce soaps and lotions.
Creating hues for clothes and Easter eggs is also a part of the shift towards natural. Botanical dyes can be made from marigolds and onions.
Indoors Ventures Outside
All the furniture you have inside, you can now have outside. Thanks to new technologies, contemporary outdoor furniture is made of fabrics that are fade-resistant and waterproof.
You can create a permanent living room outdoors with all the comfort of the indoor living space, such as deep seating with cushions. Outdoor accessories are as plentiful as interior ones moving toward the personalization of the gardens. You can be very specific and picky.
The Birds and the Bees
Besides veggies and fruits, more and more homeowners are adding chickens and bees to their gardens. This backyard design trend has been largely influenced by the grow-your-own-food movement. Chickens are kept for eggs and meat. Bees might not be what you consider standard pets, but the popularity of beekeeping is still rising.
We find many city-dwellers labelling their own homemade honey these days. It is no longer something that is exclusively reserved for country folk. Another reason for the growing interest in beekeeping is related to the struggle to maintain the population of these insect, which has become a global concern. Then there is also the renewed interest in the health-promoting properties of honey.
Bottom Line for Backyard Design Trends in 2016
Keep it simple, functional and sustainable.
Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture and a nature lover from Sydney, Australia. She enjoys writing about landscaping and indoor gardens. Lana is a proper foodie and loves to cook for her family and friends.