Chasing trends may seem like a bad idea because you never really know when they are going to change. Of course, if you don’t keep your inventory up to date, then you won’t have what customers want and they’ll turn to other businesses. The key to following trends is to identify general themes and elements that are going to last for more than a season versus those that may only last a summer. Here are 13 trends in landscape design that can be applied to just about any yard and thus are likely to hang around for some time.
Past trends have revolved around planting for spring blooms and fall foliage. It has been all about bright colors and overwhelming aromas, but that is starting to change. People are starting to added elements to their gardens to boost appeal in mid-fall and mid-summer. This trend focuses subtle colors like rusty oaks and grasses that are gentle greens and browns. Keep grasses in stock and be sure to have a subtle color palette to choose from in addition to a more vibrant palette.
2. Small Scales
Treating planters as small-scale landscapes is becoming more popular. Container gardening starts with the container itself, so keep a wide variety of containers around for people to choose from. Dark colors are a trend that is just starting to pick up, so don’t just rely on terra-cotta and think you will be covered.
3. Outdoor Living
The outdoor living trend is here to stay and fire pits are the focal point of most of these landscape designs. You need to be able to offer customers a variety of fire pit options as well as options for seating and plants that can be used to create a secluded or semi-secluded area. Customization of fire pits is becoming popular as well, so if you can offer customization, you will be in good shape moving forward.
Whether it is for a walkway, a retaining wall, or a water feature, stones have been and will remain incredibly important in landscape design. The trend in stones has been toward a more natural look, but they have to blend with the overall landscape design, so you need to offer customers a variety of options to choose from.
Part of the trend in outdoor living revolves around lights and the ambiance they add as well as the utility they provide. LEDs are incredibly popular for their energy saving aspect. People are also interested in “smart” lights that they can control from a smartphone.
6. More Plants, Less Grass
People have been moving away from having wide expanses of lawn for a long time now. The trend is toward drought-tolerant, edible landscapes. You would do also well to carry a large variety of plants that require little maintenance and offer strong visual appeal for remote areas of landscape.
7. Natural Quality
The trend in recent years has been to move away from showy, highly manicured landscapes toward high-quality, natural options. People are interested in heavy wood beams (e.g. cedar), large stones, quality furniture, and top-notch cooking and dining appliances.
8. Water, Water Everywhere
Water features are not just a trend, they are a phenomenon. Everyone wants water in their yard because it offers beauty and Zen-like relaxation. Offering natural solutions for water features is a sure-fire way to attract customers.
9. Don’t Forget the Animals
Creating landscaping that benefits, birds, bees, butterflies, and critters of all kinds is a trend that will likely hang around for a long time. Make sure to offer plants that attract pollinators, ward off damage by deer and other pest animals, and provide a comfortable home for birds of all types.
When it comes to mulch, you can’t offer just anything. People are looking for mulch that matches their overall design aesthetic, but it also has to meet the needs of their plants. That means that people want high-quality mulch that doesn’t compact, degrades slowly, and is water-permeable. It should come in a variety of natural colors as well.
11. Framed Archways
Elegant entrances to garden areas and outdoor living spaces have been popular for some time now. People aren’t just looking for trellises and arbors though. They are looking for vines, climbing roses, and a variety of plants to frame their archway.
12. Dark Outdoor Colors
The trend in Europe has been toward dark colors that provide a contrast with landscape. That trend is now moving to the U.S. Dark greys, greens, blues, and even black are incredibly popular. Make sure you provide your customers with durable outdoor paint in a variety of rich, dark colors.
13. Pet-Friendly Landscape
Out pets are an important part of our lives and most people want them to be comfortable in the yard. Make sure to offer a variety of pet-friendly plants, organic fertilizers, and pesticides that are less harmful to pets. Pet-inspired landscape designs that incorporate sandboxes, shade trees, and more is also becoming more prevalent.
Your goal isn’t to chase trends, but rather to define them. If you can pick out what makes a trend popular (e.g. natural elements), it can be easier to stock inventories and make purchasing decisions that will draw customers to your business and ensure that you aren’t stuck with a warehouse full of pink flamingoes. Finally, remember to offer unique items. Customers want their landscapes to be their own, so generic products that look too much like one another won’t sell well.