Largely fueled by technology and the expectation of living a plugged-in-24-7-life, anxiety is rapidly on the rise and people are looking for appealing and tangible ways to unplug and unwind without the cost or inconvenience of hopping the next plane to paradise. More consumers are realizing that gardening and landscaping are perfect vehicles for achieving this goal. 2018 gardening and landscaping trends reflect the wider cultural movement toward simplification, achieving a healthy mind-body balance and prioritizing overall wellness.
Let’s take a look at 5 gardening and landscaping trends you can expect to see this coming year:
1. MORE WATER FEATURES/RAINSCAPING: According to evolutionary ecologist, Wallace J. Nichols, “Being in and around nature and around water shifts our brain toward hope and compassion and away from stress and anger.” That’s a powerful statement! Proximity to water has a profound impact on our mental and emotional health. No longer is water considered only an audible garden feature. Expect to see more reflecting pools, plunge pools and cisterns for capturing and reflecting water.
Rainscaping is also an increasingly popular water trend. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, “Rainscaping is any combination of plantings, water features, catch basins, permeable pavement and other activities that manage stormwater as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it someplace else.” There are an infinite number of creative ways to collect and utilize rainwater – keep your eyes peeled!
2. “SOCIAL” GARDENING: Social gardening is just like it sounds – a method of gardening that involves grouping plants together instead of planting them individually or as small clusters. It is a way of perceiving plants as communities as opposed to individuals. The byproduct of social gardening is that the plants require less maintenance – a great way to simplify the gardening process (less groundcover to weed!) – and create a lush and tranquil visual experience.
3. FOREST BATHING: According to a June 30, 2017 Atlantic article, “In 1982, Japan made shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” a part of its national health program. The aim was to briefly reconnect people with nature in the simplest way possible. Go to the woods, breathe deeply, be at peace. Forest bathing was Japan’s medically sanctioned method of unplugging before there were smartphones to unplug from.” With the cultural shift towards disconnection and simplification more consumers are creating a forest bathing experience on their own turf. This looks like a path made of natural materials (stone, mulch, grass…) that winds its way between trees – something that emulates a forest setting and that invites quiet reflection.
4. ZEN/MEDITATION GARDENS: The demand for a personal zen garden is on the rise in 2018. These spaces include succulent plants, arrangements of smooth stones, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes and raked sand or gravel. There is often a bench to sit on and take in the contemplative, zen experience.
5. A NATURAL, LESS-MANICURED GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE: As an effort to simplify and create a garden sanctuary in which to reset and recharge consumers are moving away from high-maintenance plants and landscape and towards one that is more ‘natural’ and low-maintenance. This means we will continue to see more self-seeding, ornamental grasses as well as more wildflowers. We will also continue to see a shift away from toxic herbicides as evidenced by hand-weeded or un-weeded gardens. Homeowners are also becoming more appreciative of faded blooms and seedheads that offer year-round visual interest and they are participating less in deadheading tediousness.
If you would like help planning your landscaping projects for 2018 it’s not too early to get started and McDonough Landscaping would love to help!