Summer Landscape Trends to Help You Create a Garden Oasis

hardscape paver walkway through a garden

Summer in the Mid-Atlantic boasts a long growing season— from mid-May to mid-October at most elevations. It’s the perfect time to explore how you can create an oasis of peace and tranquility using the colors and textures of the many annuals, perennials, woody plants, and shrubs that thrive here.

Need some inspiration? Here are some trending ideas for home landscaping:  

Look for plants that do double-duty. You may be surprised at how many colorful and hardy plants do a lot more than just sit there and look pretty. 

    • Try placing herbs with fragrant foliage like lemon cypress, Russian sage, or mint near your walkways where their leaves may be crushed by visitors’ footsteps, offering up a sweet or savory smell. 
    • Plant scented flowers or shrubs where your garden gets a nice breeze. 
    • A fast-growing “butterfly bush” will draw Monarchs, Lunas, and other lepidoptera to your yard for you to enjoy. 
    • Many fruits and vegetables are lovely to look at while they grow, in your yard, deck, or balcony containers— why not try your hand at growing plants that provide food for your family and friends?
    • Certain types of plants like a Meyer Lemon Tree or flowering hibiscus can provide a bit of shade near your favorite chair. 
    • Talk to a knowledgeable garden center employee about planting a few mosquito repellent plants

Build Low-Maintenance Designs. One of the most important things you can do to help your plants thrive and your garden grow is to choose the right spot to plant them. Strolling through your garden, pulling a weed here or dead-heading a plant there, may be enjoyable— but having to water plants continually or fertilize constantly is no one’s idea of fun. Talk to someone at a reputable garden center about what kind of soil you have, which way your garden faces, and other factors— let them suggest a low-maintenance design, filled with beautiful, hardy plants that will thrive under the conditions you actually have. A mixture of dramatic foliage and a few low-maintenance flowers for contrast and color will make a big impact. 

Add Some Garden Bling. Living things are the foundation of any garden space, but why not accent its beauty with a few accessories? Look into adding a swing, glider, or awning for comfortable seating. An awning or pergola might increase your garden’s usable hours by providing a bit of extra shade, and for those chilly nights in September and October, an outdoor heater or fire pit could extend your garden’s life up until the first hard frost.

Pathways and Walkways. Called “hardscapes,” pathways and walkways come in a variety of materials and patterns, and can greatly enhance the appeal and utility of your garden. Check out hardscape pavers, brick, and natural stone laid in a variety of patterns, from basket-weave to herringbone. Even sIngle well-placed natural stones can help visitors get from one section of the garden to another without trampling or damaging your plantings.

Night Lighting. Lighting is one of the most dramatic and underrated aspects of interior home and exterior landscaping design. Outdoor lighting also provides additional safety. After sunset, your lights will turn on, guiding the way through your garden and minimizing any tripping concerns. One of the best selections for outdoor lighting are hidden fixtures that are either discreetly built into garden features, installed lights around the edges of pathways, or hidden under plants or rocks. You can choose from LED lights and even solar-powered lights to save energy and money.

Most people agree with the old chestnut “There’s no place like home.” And probably just as many would add “…especially in the summertime!” With proper landscaping design and maintenance, you can have a yard that you’ll enjoy from May to October.