2018 began under a wave of bitter, relentless cold that made even a short walk out to the driveway seem impossibly daunting. Subfreezing temperatures persist into the first week of The New Year, and—considering that—few of us are thinking much about gardening and landscaping. But even though Appalachian winters can be harsh, they don’t last forever—or even for very long. In just a couple months, spring-like weather will be upon us, and—with it—a new year of gardening and landscaping trends to keep up with. Of course, one does not need to pay attention to trends in order to create a beautiful garden or landscape. The beauty of nature is pretty universal, after all. Researching landscaping trends is just one way of creating a unique lawn and garden look for 2018—a year that, we hope, will be as colorful, empathetic, and innovative as these ideas:
Shifting trends reflect a shifting reality. These days, ample space is expensive and hard to come by, and more and more people are downsizing, simplifying, and minimizing to compensate. If you’ve recently downsized a cushy home in the suburbs for a compact and economical apartment, you can also downsize your cushy suburban garden. The trick is creating space that has multiple uses, and can combine disparate elements seamlessly. Small gardeners may opt for an outdoor table that also fits a portable fire pit, or container plants that are stacked vertically on outdoor shelves. Building up and in, rather than outward, is the key to compact gardening.
Add Homemade Touches
The increased popularity of DIY home maintenance coupled with the success of custom home goods sites like Etsy have created a fervor for home crafted gardening and landscaping accessories. A quick google search yields hundreds of homemade fountains, yard decorations, bird feeders, flower pots, and natural stone and wood fixtures homemade by artists. Buying homemade décor adds uniqueness to curated landscapes while also supporting the efforts of artisans who put real work and love into their creations. You can even DIY by looking up an online tutorial for, say, how to make a rain garden from scratch or turn an old boot into a flower pot. This year, taking advantage of online resources and small time craftsmanship will make your landscape special.
Be a Good Host
Landscapers are considering the ecological impacts of their landscaping decisions now more than ever before. Urban development has caused a number of longstanding ecological crises—running native species out of their homes, increasing pollution, and, in some cases, irreparably damaging local ecosystems. To their credit, homeowners are doing what they can to create landscapes that build on, rather than detract from, natural ecosystems. For a landscape that is both beautiful and environmentally friendly, considering planting primarily or exclusively native plants, growing trees that yield berries and seeds, and avoiding pesticides and herbicides.
Go Boldly Forward
Landscaping experts say 2018 will be a year of experimentation: new plants, new designs, and new possibilities. The increasingly popularity of community gardens and garden-share programs (and the number of seeds available online) has created a rich resource of unique crops and flowers available for planting. Gone are the days of neat, traditional, and safe landscaping. Now, people are branching out by growing more diverse plants, playing around with different styles, and taking risks. Risk-taking is healthy in the garden and in life, and a strong community that is willing to share knowledge and resources makes new risks seem doable. So take a deep breath, try something new, and don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors for help. In 2018, we’re all growing something together.