8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

Still rocking colored mulch and gnomes in your yard? It's time for an intervention. Exorcise these outdated landscaping trends ASAP and instantly boost your home’s curb appeal.

By Deirdre Mundorf and Phillip Tinner | Published Apr 29, 2022 3:20 PM

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As with everything else, landscaping trends come and go. Staying abreast of the latest in landscaping trends—and phasing out plants or outdoor decor that are no longer en vogue—is an easy way to keep your curb appeal high and, if you’re putting your home on the market anytime soon, potentially increase buyers’ interest in your home. Which landscaping fads are now past their prime? Read on. While change can be hard, a refresh will serve your yard well.

1. Garden Statues

landscaping mistakes 2022

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Garden gnomes, yard flamingos, and other garden statues have been longtime outdoor staples. However, modern landscapes place a greater emphasis on the plants and natural elements of a space than on plastic or plaster trinkets therein. Statues, especially an excessive number of them, can pull attention away from a yard’s natural beauty. While statues used to be the star of the show, they often just get in the way and can make a property look cluttered.

2. Boxwood Shrubs

8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

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Boxwood shrubs remained widely popular following their introduction to the U.S. at the turn of the 19th century, but their popularity has slowly waned. One likely reason is the way these shrubs’ unnaturally straight lines disrupt a landscape’s flow. Additionally, current landscaping trends value low-maintenance plants. With the attention and care needed to keep boxwood shrubs looking pristine, many homeowners may not find them worth the effort anymore.

3. Colored Mulch

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Dyed mulch is officially passé. It became popular in the 1960s and endured for years afterward, and now colorful mulch really dates a property at a glance. Worse, some mulch colors are made with hazardous substances that could contaminate your soil or water, or even threaten the health of children or animals.

4. Artificial Grass

8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

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A low-maintenance, no-mow lawn sounds like a dream, but it may be time to let artificial grass go. Beyond looking unnatural, fake grass also poses some environmental risks (despite saving on water). It doesn’t provide a habitat for native animals and microbes, and it can even threaten aquatic life with contaminants in water runoff after it rains.

RELATED: These 10 Eco-Friendly Design Trends Will Be Everywhere in 2022

5. Too Much Hardscaping

8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

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Hardscaping, which focuses on items like archways, stepping stones, and fire pits, can still add great visual appeal to a yard—when used in moderation. While it may have been forgiven in past years, letting hardscaping elements take over your softscape can kill your curb appeal in 2022. Aim to keep the natural landscape the main focus of your outdoor space, and add in just a few hardscaping elements where desired.

6. Brick Barriers and Borders

8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

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Other past-its-prime landscaping features that can make your home look outdated are brick borders and barriers. These are now viewed as a waste of usable garden or lawn space—after all, the area taken up by brick could be better served growing ornamental grasses, flowers, or other greenery. Another downside to surrounding plants with brick borders is that they’ll be in the way should you decide to extend your garden beds further down the line.

RELATED: The Invincible Yard: 17 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

7. Garden Signs

8 Landscaping Mistakes That Make a Home Look Outdated

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Exterior signs with fun labels and messages reached a new popularity peak last decade, but the trend is on its way out. Though they aren’t landscaping elements per se, we’d be remiss not to inform well-meaning green thumbs and grill masters that wooden signs dishing out gardening philosophies—or pointing to the location of the tiki bar—simply doen’t impress the way they once did. If anything, these garden signs only distract from the very things they should call attention to.

8. Tuscan Courtyard…in Tulsa

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Mediterranean tile courtyards and Japanese zen gardens can be stunning, but they may not exactly gel with your house or neighborhood. Although many cherish the backyard as a refuge from the everyday, landscapes that heavily clash with a home’s style and surroundings are falling out of favor. Taking inspiration from around the globe and adding variety to your garden is still in style in 2022, but incorporating native plants and local materials that complement your home’s exterior and natural environment is a better way of going about it.