Just as it is with fashion, food, entertainment and interior design, the world of landscaping design also has its own trends. What’s “in vogue” or popular one year may not be the next. Something different and exciting is always becoming the new, best thing. But when it comes to landscaping, many factors besides style for its own sake influence these trends, including changes in weather patterns and water availability, and increases in maintenance costs. Here are a few of the most popular trends today for commercial landscaping:
This style is becoming more popular as an alternative to heavily water-dependent landscaping. It uses drought-resistant or drought-tolerant plants such as citrus, cypress, fig trees, grape vines, juniper, lavender, Mexican sage, olive trees, pomegranate, rosemary, star jasmine and various kinds of succulents. These plants bring fragrance and color to the landscape, while generally being low-maintenance. The Mediterranean style also uses climbing plants to create the look and feel of lush greenery in contained spaces. Other elements in a Mediterranean-style design are flower pots (either terracotta or vibrantly colored) which are often grouped together, fountains, decorative tile work, large rocks, and even a splash of color in the form of a brightly painted accent wall. In all, this is a casual and easy-to-care-for landscaping style that undoubtedly will continue to grow in appeal.
Green Roofs and Vertical Landscaping
In urban areas, where there are space constraints and heat and pollution of the city make it hard to grow many plants, eco-friendly landscaping is the new alternative to traditional landscaping. There are two methods for creating green spaces in cities: green roofs and vertical landscaping. Green roofs—the landscaping provided on rooftops of high-rises and other buildings—are growing in popularity, for many reasons. They not only bring nature back to the city, but they help clean the air of pollution, and also help catch rainwater runoff from flooding sewer systems. Proponents believe that green roofs can be longer lasting as well, since traditional roofs expand and contract with temperature changes. Another eco-friendly form of gardening—vertical gardens or green walls—describe a type of urban garden where plants are grown using a substrate that is attached to a building or wall structure. Still a relatively new phenomenon, vertical gardens can make a design statement even in a small space. But they are still high maintenance, and it remains to be seen whether they are tough enough to last for a long time.
A high-impact garden is ideal for busy people with limited time for gardening, who don’t have a lot of outdoor space, but still want to do grow some of their own flowers, herbs or other plants. The goal is to get maximum impact in a relatively small area, with little or no pruning, watering, weed control, staking or other required maintenance. Some common plants used in high-impact landscaping are dwarf butterfly bushes, lilacs and crepe myrtles; Japanese ferns; succulents; herbs like rosemary and sage; and decorative grasses. These types of gardens are known for their bright, bold colors, and uncommon plant groupings. This is a design that is highly cost effective while bringing out a note of greenery to a landscape where the space is limited.
Container gardening is the perfect choice for any area that is tight on space. It is most suitable for parks or landscaped spaces that are used for parties or wedding receptions. A big plus with container gardens is the design can literally be changed overnight; all that is required is to refill or rearrange the containers. Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container, as long as the container is large enough and the plants are not overcrowded. The plants can be planted in pots, tubs, half-barrels, wooden planters and other containers, and the landscaping is created by mix-and-matching the plants over the area given. The containers can be placed directly on the ground or on pedestals, hung from rooftops or on hangers, or mounted on windowsills.