Lawn & Garden Landscaping

The Biggest Outdoor Design Trends of 2018—So Far

A yard is more than grass that you have to mow, it's an extension of your living space. Homeowners who commit time and money toward landscaping their yard not only get a great return on their investment, but on average they’re happier with the results of their outdoor renovation than they are with indoor remodeling projects like redoing the kitchen or bathroom. Get a head start on revitalizing your yard by checking out the biggest landscaping trends of 2018, according to landscaping expert Missy Henriksen, spokesperson for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

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Experiential Landscape Design

Zillow Digs home in Oceanside, CA

Your landscaping should fit the way you live. If you love yoga, create a private “om” space in the middle of a garden, or if you’re a grill master, design your dream outdoor kitchen on the back patio“Experiential landscape design is all about people identifying what’s important to them in their outdoor living space and helping that come to life,” says Henriksen.

Related: 17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ

Landscape Design Based on Life Stage

Zillow Digs home in Lafayette, CA

In midcentury suburbia, it seems like every house on the street had the same cookie-cutter landscaping. Nowadays, homeowners are more interested in creating a custom design that aligns with their interests, home, and stage of life. So, families might opt for kid-friendly flower gardens, busy singles might gravitate toward easy-care coneflowers, and outdoor entertainers might prefer fragrant lavender and basil to perfume the backyard air.

Related: 10 Genius Ways to Make Your Backyard a Blast

Serenity Gardens

Zillow Digs home in Santa Barbara, CA

While the medical world is buzzing about the health benefits of meditation, landscapers are seeing its impact in the yard. Serenity gardens, which provide a space for homeowners to relax or meditate, are among the hottest—and most versatile—landscaping trends of 2018. “A serenity garden can be water features or it may be different plant materials—plants that help create a mood,” says Henriksen.

Related: 7 Houseplants with Secret Health Benefits

Climate-Conscious Landscaping

Zillow Digs home in Redlands, CA

Unless you live in a temperate climate, you can expect some harsh or unpredictable weather over the course of the year. To cope with these extremes, landscapers are planting smarter by choosing plants that can stand up to the weather, such as sedum or the Angelita daisy, and adding features that improve outdoor living in any season. “We’re seeing people put up retractable canopies and pergolas to protect against inclement weather, or install outdoor fire features and heaters. The idea is that you can be in the space regardless of what Mother Nature offers,” says Henriksen. 

Related: 10 Ways to Weather-Proof Your Garden

"Pantone Color of the Year" Plants

The Pantone Color of the Year—this year it’s Ultra Violet—influences everything from furniture to fashion, but it also has an impact on the plantings in your garden. “We’re seeing people expressing more of an interest in purples. Things like violets, lavender plants, and petunias,” says Henriksen.

Related: 9 Bright and Colorful Houseplants You Can’t Kill

Native Plants

Zillow Digs home in Laguna Beach, CA

You may not realize it, but sustainability starts in your own backyard—literally. In recent years, more and more landscapers have been choosing native plants for their ability to thrive on little more than local soil and rainwater. Even better, these same plants are often good food for pollinators and local wildlife.

Related: 25 Plants for Your Easiest Garden Ever

Gardening Technology

This year, eco-smart outdoor technology is on the rise, with low- or no-emission leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and gadgets. Professionals, too, are using technology to their advantage by tracking
nonnative species that wreak havoc in the yard. Henriksen notes that as contractors plan a landscaping project, they may also employ 3-D modeling and even drones to help homeowners envision the finished product.

Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Curb Appeal for Under $50

Landscape Looks

Keep your eyes peeled for these landscaping trends in your friends’ and neighbors’ yards. You just might be inspired to give a few of them a try for your own home.