Outdoor living is more popular than ever. The National Association of Home Builders says that house size is shrinking by nearly 10 percent, and yards, porches and decks are compensating as living spaces. As people put more time, energy and money into making these outdoor areas shine, what are the biggest trends of 2017?
Just like decorating indoors, it’s no longer de rigueur to choose one style and stick to it. Instead, people are pursuing a more personal style by mixing old and new, modern and traditional. Combining styles for a compelling contrast ensures a unique garden.
We’ve seen it in women’s wear and interior design–now it’s moving into the garden. Large expanses of solid, eye-catching color are making a visual splash. Painted patio walls or fences frame features like container gardens, outdoor furniture and fire pits. Solid-colored outdoor rugs and curtains create the same dramatic effect.
Droughts, unpredictable weather and emergency preparedness all promote the practical wisdom of incorporating rain collection barrels into the design. Attractive options are more available than ever before, along with decorative “rain chains” — linked metal cups which channel rainwater downward and double as a pleasing water feature.
Native plants have enjoyed soaring popularity in recent years. Now endemic plants are in demand–plants native to a very particular ecosystem. Similarly, locally sourced materials, such as rocks and bamboo or wood from on-site sources, are playing an important role in landscape design.
Lawn alternatives which thrive with less water, less mowing and less fertilizing and pest control are a hot trend. Options include low-growing, spreading groundcovers; native grass blends; clover; and ornamental grasses. Creeping thyme and Corsican mint make fragrant and durable lawn substitutes.
Vertical gardening adapts itself easily to a range of styles. Ranging from dashingly modern to appealingly DIY, vertical gardening makes economical use of limited space, is easy to maintain and is a great conversation-starter.
Designers are relying more on natural materials in furnishings, turning away from the super-clean, minimalist geometric styles that have prevailed. A vintage, DIY aesthetic manifests in railway ties, country-style swings, and handcrafted containers. Textures are moving away from concrete and sleek teak to more organic textures like woven furniture.
Finishing deck railing with a wide, flat board on top makes a handy place to put drinks and plates when entertaining.