Once the ground has thawed and the hard frost warning dates have passed, many of us can’t wait to get elbow-deep in the rich, good earth. For many, just this will be more than enough to soothe the soul and begin to create the beauty we all want in our outdoor spaces!
Some of us, however, might be restless to mix things up this year. If you’re interested in doing things a bit differently in your gardens or outdoor space this year, here are some major landscaping trends on the forefront of peoples’ minds in 2020.
Explore Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Solutions
Minimalists will love that simple, sustainable plantings are leading the way. Much more than a trend, this movement represents a commitment to techniques and equipment that go beyond building your garden’s cosmetic appeal to include environmentally friendly solutions that save money and require little maintenance.
Especially in urban and suburban areas in and around central Maryland, practicing sustainable landscaping is crucial. In addition to reducing waste, attention to sustainable landscaping techniques supports local ecosystems and saves money. Don’t have the budget to overhaul your yard to make it more eco-friendly all at one time? Don’t worry. Baby steps toward creating an environmentally friendly outdoor living space will make a big difference. To start moving in the right direction:
- Do some strategic planning to improve energy efficiency. Simply positioning the right plants near south- and west-facing windows can lower your air conditioning bills. Provided those same plants lose their leaves and allow sunlight to permeate your windows during colder months, you can take advantage of a basic type of solar heating to raise your internal temperature a few degrees in the winter.
- A commitment to include plants that help pollinators like bees and butterflies is changing from “trend” status to an important movement among people who are committed to bettering the environment through improved eco-systems. We rely on pollinators to reproduce 90 percent of flowering plants, and they are in disastrous decline. Find a list of plants that are hardy for your area that can support the important work of our pollinator friends!
- Add “composting” to your commitment to reduce, re-use, and recycle. Collecting your organic scraps like vegetable and fruit peels, grass clippings, and coffee grounds converts into a rich fertilizer that will keep your garden healthy and increase your yield. Composting is the process of recycling organic matter like veggie scraps and grass clippings. Take your sustainable landscaping transformation one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be saving money, helping the ecosystem, and be enjoying your yard even more in 2020.
Experiment with Low-Maintenance Landscaping
Who wouldn’t want a lovely landscaped area that could be enjoyed without requiring hours and hours of daily maintenance? Don’t worry, though. Low maintenance landscaping in 2020 isn’t all railroad ties and rocks. There are beautiful, low maintenance ways of gardening that thrive in our Maryland climate and highlight the natural beauty of your yard dramatically.
Xeriscaping is a landscaping style using native plants that conserves water and preserves utility while bringing a unique beauty to your outdoor living space. Depending on plant type and how densely it’s planted, converting typical bluegrass turf to a xeric shrub bed will save 20–40% of water. Keep in mind, though— having a xeriscaped yard doesn’t mean having no turf at all. There are a number of turf alternatives that can be used.
Over time, xeric plants will adapt to periods of drought (think summer in Maryland), reducing plant loss and the related work and expense. Refer to The Complete Guide to Xeriscaping for plant lists, and other benefits and considerations.
As more people move to condos, apartments, and smaller homes, the already-popular trend of vertical gardening will explode in 2020 and beyond. Vertical gardens can be planted indoors or outside and yield flowers, edible plants, or both! Just plan carefully to be sure your plantings and/or containers are located where they will receive sunlight and can be easily watered. Use vertical plantings to hide ugly walls, old fencing, or underwhelming views.
- Companion Planting
Companion planting involves the planting of different crops near one another to maximize space and increase crop productivity. Depending on the plants you select, companion planting often results in healthier plants and an increased harvest because this gardening method can:
- Increase topsoil nutrients
- Reduce pests
- Prevent weeds
- Attract pollinators
Companion planting has been a natural and organic way to manage common plant problems for many years; it is increasing in popularity in 2020 as gardeners continue to seek more eco-friendly solutions to increase crop productivity.
Add Some Outdoor Living Spaces
Spending time in nature is one of the most therapeutic things we can do to relax and reduce stress. Investing in more sophisticated outdoor living spaces has become extremely important in 2020, as more and more people want to enjoy nature in their backyard.
There are plenty of outdoor living spaces with the potential for delivering the best return on your investment while providing hours of enjoyment:
- Pergolas provide a striking focal point to your landscape as the shade you may need for plants that need a less-sunny exposure than the rest of your garden. Use their posts and pillars to stake climbing plants like clematis, morning glories, or ivy, or hang baskets of mixed blooms and trailing vines from their crossbeams.
- Patios that incorporate extra seating, water features, or fire pits are another popular trend for 2020. Consumers can choose from innumerable styles and materials to create an outdoor living space that fits beautifully with your home’s architectural features and entertaining vibe.
- Outdoor kitchens are permanent, built-in solutions that can include counters, tabletops, storage, and sinks in addition to sophisticated cooktops and grills. In 2020, we’ve come a long way from the stand-alone Weber Kettle!
- Upgraded Lighting, whether you simply select a more energy-efficient solution or go the extra mile and indulge in multi-colored illumination and spotlights, provides a dramatic way to bring your outdoor living space to life after hours.
Why Not Smart Garden Technology?
Safety and security issues have not cornered the smart technology market. One of the fastest growing smart tech devices so far in 2020 is a system that waters your plants— efficiently and only when needed. Keep an eye out for a solar-powered version in the near future— an upgrade that will help keep your yard and garden looking their best.
Your garden is your sanctuary, a place you can go to escape the pressures of daily life. We suggest you use these 2020 trends to help create that haven while giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing the beauty you create is helping to bolster your local ecosystem and improve the environment worldwide.
Need help getting started? RELS can help! Contact us today!