April 11, 2016

Garden Trends 2016

Ready, set, go..........In the Midwest that is,  the new landscape season is nearly upon us.

The trends I experienced last year, that are carrying forward this season, are very intriguing to me. Some are a new take on an old theme, particularly propelled by millennials, others an uptick in established patterns. (actually hate the thought of following a trend, but these appeal) Let's take a look, any of these to your liking?

Taking the Interiors OUT..........
Not a covered patio, fully emerged in the elements. The use of upholstered outdoor furniture up markets your space instantly. The comfort level soars. A favorite manufacturer is Lee Industries
From interesting rug patterns, poufs and high fashion outdoor pillows.....enjoy decorating this extra 'room'
Empty Vessels
 In the above image, place your thumb over the pot and notice how your eye will 'float' across the photo. When removed, your eye will focus, while encompassing the surrounding environs.
With the aid of empty vessels you create instant focal points, a foil against plants, an exclamation point of interest.

Could these be planted? Of course! Whether creating focal points or no maintenance accents, the typical pot leans towards the Grecian oil jar style
Ornamental Grasses
From no maintenance to low maintenance, people are gravitating towards the ease of these plants.
Wispy and romantic to columnar and structured. Tall to short and in a variety of foliage colors, these specimens have much to offer. I noticed on our garden tour to France last year, the heavy use of grasses, not what one typically thinks of when in French gardens.

 Free standing Espaliers
Espaliers are most often seen hugging a wall, as originally intended. In Europe when few people had land, a spot would be found or carved out against a wall, preferably south or west, to plant a fruit bearing tree for food. Today aesthetics rule the day.
Pre-formed trees are most interesting to me as free-standing sentinels. They delineate a space, add massive interest, create a fence like barrier in limited spaces and yes, bear fruit.
A Garden within a Garden
When designing a garden, I keep in the back of my mind, the principle of creating a getaway spot for intimate conversation or as an individual retreat. In Europe, where I studied gardening, homeowners spaces are often a series of 'rooms' requiring one to explore and sit within the garden. In the US, we usually have one vantage point, say a deck or patio from which to survey our 'land'. Consider creating another space within, providing new views uses and perspectives
A Clothesline
I am of a certain age that remembers laundry day at my Grandmothers. My parents had a washer and dryer, Grandma had a wringer washer and a clothesline. It screamed summer to me and the clothes were oh so fresh. Unlike my Grandmother, I was endlessly fascinated.
This is a movement sparked by those who have never experienced a clothes line. It 'romanticizes' wash day. 
A few years ago, I was working with a client creating French gardens on her expansive property. I suggested two solid lavender beds, a bit larger than a king sized sheet. After washing her sheets, they were spread over the lavender for drying.The lavender released their fragrant oils in the sun as they dried.....viola!
In the aid of Bees
As the below quote states, this is a serious predicament.
There is welcome interest in the preservation of bees. Along the way we can create colorful borders with bee favored plantings, pick up a new hobby as a beekeeper, enjoying the tasty rewards of bottling honey, become a soap maker, craft colorful beehives......

A friend of my husbands became a passionate beekeeper, hoping his enthusiasm would rub off on him, I began to design the beehive and borders filled with lavender.......sadly, not to bee

Imaginative Lighting
Up lighting has long been a staple. This is still a format I employ, but ask me for help with the exterior lighting on your home and I am in heaven. Let's peek at a few other options........
Wall Washing with lighting
Rope lighting along a rock border
Oh yeah!!!!!

It is that time again, enjoy!



  1. Debra, this post is fabulous! I love the furniture, and the empty vessels and the ornamental grasses! These are beautiful spaces and so inspiring. I miss my 900 sq. ft courtyard from my last house because it had a fireplace, outdoor kitchen and fabulous fountain, not to mention beautiful landscape with bougainvillea and more. Oh well this place is slowly taking shape into the way we want, a little at a time.

    On a different note, how are you? How are you doing without your pup? You have been on my mind because there is not a day that goes by since I lost my little Munchen that I do not think of her and somedays even cry because I miss her so much. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Thanks for the breakdown, Debra. Outdoor furniture looks so good these days. I especially love the indoor / outdoor Perennials fabrics. As for ornamental grasses, such a great idea considering the hotter and drier summers. Happy Spring! xo

  3. Hi Debra, you have given us so many beautiful ideas for making any outdoor space lovely for the season! The furnishings, pillows, rugs and variety of pots is astounding!

    Hope you are doing well my friend!

    The Arts by Karena

  4. Wonderful round up!!!
    Thanks for all the fabulous inspiration:)

  5. So many beautiful idea. Love that narrow hedge with the castle wall behind, and the turquoise beehive.
    Your observation on the differences in outlook between European and American made me think about how we view, and treat, our outdoor spaces. Thank you.

  6. I do love a good pot/container in an unexpected spot! And if espaliered trees did become huge, I'd be thrilled because it would be easier to find them.

  7. Unique and outstanding inspirations, Debra. I am anxious to see what ideas you came up with for Kathysue.

  8. Debra,
    I don't know where to begin, I love all of the images and got quite a few ideas I'd like to copy cat! On the issue of "upholstered" furniture in the garden, I was inspired by Brooke Gianetti's use of 2 lovely upholstered chairs off one of their rooms at Patina Farm. She explained that they were upholstered in an outdoor fabric, including the cushion filler-outdoor hearty, to be weather proof. I love the idea.
    On the topic of grasses, they aren't my first love, but when we planted them in our kids yard I was smitten. One caution, I'm sure I don't have to tell you, there are a few that are unbelievably invasive and where 3 plants were set, if not checked, there can be 15 volunteers in a year or so. :-)
    What a wonderful post to kick off the season for the mid-west and I'll be pinning away!

  9. Wonderful inspiration and your words are always golden!! Love the lavender beds to dry the sheets. What a wonderful idea and fragrance!!
    xo Kathysue

  10. What an inspirational post—I am ready to garden now. I am adding an outdoor entertaining area to my house right now. I was so happy to see the new Lee outdoor furniture. I love the idea of a real sofa on the porch. Thanks for the garden post!
    xo, lissy


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