If you’re wondering about current landscaping trends: which features belong in your backyard in East Greenwich and Jamestown, RI, here are some ideas. Several important trends have emerged during the past few years, and these trends will continue to drive landscape design for years to come.
1. More Native Plants, and Smaller Lawns
Have you ever noticed how much work a lawn requires, and how little it actually gets used (other than the aesthetic value)? Many homeowners are giving up large expanses of lawn in favor of low-maintenance native plants that require almost no supplemental watering, that tolerate weather extremes, support local wildlife and pollinators, and rarely need any fertilizer or pest control. Natives will reward you richly with seasonal color, fragrance, shade, and fruits. If you don’t have kids or pets that need room to run, consider reducing the size of your lawn. You’ll have more time, and a gorgeous landscape too!
2. Larger Yet Smarter Outdoor Living Areas
Increasing the size of your outdoor living area is another way to reduce the area covered by thirsty and maintenance-intensive lawns. This doesn’t mean covering your backyard with a single patio. Today’s outdoor living spaces are often separate spaces joined by walkways, just like rooms in a house are separate and joined by hallways.
This approach also makes outdoor living spaces feel closer to natural landscaping - a much more visually interesting space.
An essential part of outdoor living is shelter. Whether you want a simple pergola for shade in the hottest parts of summer, or a pavilion that offers shelter from rain and even snow, consider adding a shelter structure. It could cover an outdoor kitchen, a dining area, a seating area, or all three.
Fire pits, fire tables, or outdoor fireplaces are essential too. After all, it’s a shame to pay year-round for a space that only gets used for a few months each year. A fire feature will add the warmth and ambience you need to feel comfortable outdoors even on the coldest days.
3. Smart Technology
Smart irrigation systems can give you huge savings in water and time while keeping your landscape healthy. These systems manage watering frequency and duration according to precipitation, taking into account the specific needs of each zone of your landscape.
Outdoor lighting and audio also takes a zoned approach, delivering exactly the right amount of illumination and music in each part of your outdoor living space. Wireless speakers, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, and energy-efficient light fixtures are a must for today’s outdoor lifestyles.
4. Customized Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor kitchens are the hub of backyard living. They have evolved beyond a simple grill station, and more “indoor” amenities are finding their way into the great outdoors (in a weather-resistant package). Wood-fired pizza ovens, dishwashers, refrigeration, wine coolers, and other outdoor-rated appliances are transforming the outdoor cooking experience.
And even if you want to stick to the classic grill, adding bar seating in an L-shaped peninsula design is a hot trend that helps reduce patio clutter and keeps the action centered around cooking and sharing meals.
5 Permeable Hardscapes
Permeable pavers are an eco-friendly choice for driveways, walkways, and patios. These pavers feature larger joints between them, and they are installed on a special substrate that allows surface water to seep into the ground rather than puddling on the surface or causing runoff. You will enjoy a drier and safer surface. If you install driveway heating systems under your driveway (or for that matter, your walkway, patio, and pool deck) you could virtually eliminate the need for plowing, shoveling, and de-icing chemicals.