Last week, I shared a number of hardscape trends for 2016 as outlined in a Garden Design website story. There are as many exciting things happening in the plant world as well.
The trend that I like best is that landscapes will be more plant-centric. This means more emphasis will be placed on plants than on hardscape. The second trend that I like is that native plants, drought tolerants, container and edible gardens are no longer a trend but are here to stay. This doesn’t means that those who were wed to native plants will rip them out and plant introduced plants. But it does mean that they’ll be more flexible when choosing new plants.
We can expect to see more subtle flower colors, monochromatic gardens and plants selected for their delicate branching patterns. One designer said that homeowners are starting to “get more in tune to early and mid fall gardens.” She mentions branching on bare plants, grasses that flower late in the season and even leaf color, which we have appreciated for some time (until it comes to raking them).
The one thing that’s not coming back into style is maintenance. Manageable maintenance is an important 2016 trend. This means choosing plants with their maintenance in mind. This consideration may limit the plant palette and the number of individual plants for some people.
Closely tied to the maintenance issue is sustainability. Sustainability is like beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder. Because there is no hard and fast definition of sustainability, everyone views it differently. The interviewee in the story equates sustainability with functionality and then notes that function and aesthetics are not always on the same page. This means that we have to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics, rather than being a slave to functionality.
Designing gardens with a purpose also ties in with sustainability. This could mean growing plants to attract pollinators. Or it could mean growing food. Some people may have poles and lines for drying clothes in their landscapes, and don’t be surprised to see a compost bin in the back corner.
Layered landscapes were mentioned but we do that already. It simply means planting so the shortest plants are in front and the tallest in back. That just makes sense.
We’ve given you a lot to think about over the last two weeks. If you would like to incorporate some of these ideas into your landscape but don’t feel you have the time or the creativity to get it done, our landscape designers would be happy to work with you to give you just the look and feel that you want. After all, the people who were interviewed for the story from which I gleaned these trends were all professional landscape designers.