Garden trends change. Outdoor spaces are being utilized and accelerated as we spend more time outside for work and leisure. That means we want to know what’s trending with style inspiration for outdoor living. Functionality is the key to the garden/patio/balcony/terrace, which is now the multi-functional space. Work from home (WFH) is here to stay.
Natural materials are in style and important to the indoor/outdoor feel. Ceramics, colored glass, practical plastics, textiles, raffia and granite to name a few will be in high demand for natural, artisanal and practical objects.
Sustainability is important especially in the first year of a new garden design. We recognize the need to irrigate so that our new plants become established so that they can fend for themselves except in drought years. Choose the right plant for the right place. Our gardens are a place of peace and quiet, a haven in a wellness bubble to escape from hectic days and stressful times.
Garden design includes soft plantings and hard landscaping
The right mix of soft (planting) and hard (materials) landscaping is the key to good garden design and the natural starting point for naturalistic planting combined with textured hard landscaping with less formality and more sustainability. Use grasses mixed with perennials and bulbs for a more structured planting.
The solid path will give way to gravel, sawdust and other natural materials. More gravel can be used because it is low maintenance, permanent and flexible. It is good for drainage of storm overflow.
Using a combination of brushed/slightly textured limestones and sandstones mixed with smooth or polished stones adds extra interest to your area. Do not use polished stone as it becomes slippery when wet and can be dangerous.
Succession (main spring/summer season using spring bulbs — camassia, tulips, daffodils, alliums and early flowering plants like hellebore) will give you a good start to growth and make way for summer perennials. Then come the late bloomers such as anemones, rudbeckia and hylotephium. Using grasses, seeds, flower bark and hardy winter plants (such as coneflowers, blue spruce, boxwood, catnip, coral bells and hosta) will continue until the cycle starts over.
Gardening allows us to be part of the natural world, and that connection is cemented by the plants you choose. The current trend seems to be free and naturalistic fallows (an area of grass or grain that has been mowed) and re-greening or re-greening projects, making conservative efforts aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and wilderness areas (a form of ecological restoration while recreating a natural fallow area).
A naturalistic garden can be a sanctuary
If this is your goal, there are online tutorials and information focusing on trends in naturalistic garden design. A naturalistic garden provides a refuge not only for us, but also a wealth of biodiversity where lighter control is applied, making it aesthetic. It is a different approach and a new way of life.
This new garden design is a duo as it captures the design trend for gardeners who have a spirit of place and are in tune with their surroundings. You want to enjoy and appreciate your garden and spend more time there throughout the year by incorporating fire pits and sturdy outdoor furniture. Include plants that maintain visual interest throughout all four seasons by choosing trees and plants that continue to produce, whether spring bloom, summer flowers, a crescendo of fall leaves and berries, or the beauty of frost on seed heads, both enhance our experience from our gardens and also helps wildlife by providing essential food and shelter that wildlife needs most. Trees such as apple, hawthorn and amelanchieri are suggested and offer longevity. For a smaller area, grasses like Miscanthus retain their structure throughout the winter.
If you only have a balcony, focus on how to maximize your growing space by using pots on wheels to make the space really flexible. When it’s party time, just roll them to the side. Create a living wall planter that can also be built for privacy from your neighbors. They will be the focal point of your balcony or terrace — a perfect solution for urban living.
If you have a roof area, choose larger pots. Using larger containers gives a real focal point and feeling of lush greenery, but keep the design simple and use materials and colors that complement each other so that the plants are noticed. Even a little gardening space is beneficial.
The 2022 Sandusky County Fair is August 22-28.
Enroll now for the 2023 Master Gardener class
If you want to learn more about gardening, why not join the Sandusky/Ottawa County Master Gardeners Class of 2023. This is a 10 week course, one day a week. Ohio State experts will provide you with excellent information. Upon completion, you will become part of the Master Gardeners team of professionals in the state of Ohio. Call 419-334-6340 or email [email protected] for more information.
Susan LaFontaine is a master gardener at the Sandusky/Ottawa County Extension offices.