What's Coming Up In Landscaping?

Amanda Harper


Everyone wants their outdoor spaces to be beautiful.

However, over the last year, the trend has shifted dramatically toward yards, patios, and gardens that are just as functional as they are eye-catching. More than ever, people are finding ways to make their homes’ exteriors feel like an extension of their living space.

If you are considering some upgrades to your landscaping, consider these up-and-coming trends to help guide your choices. Open yourself up to a world of possibilities in your home’s great outdoors...

ROOMS to grow!

One of the most interesting trends right now is the idea of a backyard “room.”

Rather than thinking of the backyard as one, big expanse, think of it with an architect’s eye. You have a blank canvas that could solve any number of needs. A hammock for working on your laptop. A little pergola or gazebo for sitting with a cup of coffee and the latest issue of TOPS in the morning before work. An outdoor living room, complete with all-weather sofas and a TV.

There are any number of ways to achieve separated spaces in your yard. Planting tall shrubs or trees can offer privacy. Build roofs and structures to offer permanent shelter from the elements. Sail shades can provide colorful temporary cover. Vertical gardens, fairy lights, bamboo poles, garden walls, and more can offer visual separation as well as beauty.

Of course, this could also be a literal room: some people are adding small buildings to their backyards as a little getaway space. Think beyond the typical garden or potting shed and envision something grand. An at-home bar? An artist’s studio? A guest cottage? A super fun She Shed? If you want to go this route, just be sure you’re in compliance with your HOA and city ordinances.


Xeriscaped gardens often make use of rock-lined, sloped areas and terraces to maximize water efficiency.

Even if xeriscaping isn’t for you, this trend is perfect for just about any garden. It creates tons of visual interest by putting your plants at stepped levels. Plants that you might otherwise not see will be on full display.

The biggest benefit, of course, is that it prevents erosion and captures water that would otherwise run-off and be lost.

What the heck is Xeriscaping?

Want to water your lawn less often? Xeriscaping might be the perfect solution for you!

This landscaping concept primarily uses drought-tolerant plants that need less water. Also known as water-conserving landscapes or smartscaping, the idea is to strategize your lawn and garden design to avoid run-off and evaporation. It’s often promoted for areas that don’t have access to plentiful or reliable water for irrigation, but it’s just as beneficial here in Kentucky as it is in Arizona.

Because it’s used often in desert areas, xeriscaping has gotten a bad wrap as being a bunch of gravel and cactuses. In Kentucky, that couldn’t be further from the truth: our natural rainfall supports a multitude of shrubs, trees, grasses, plants and flowering perennials. And to dispel another myth, no, you don’t have to give up your entire lawn!

If you’re curious how your landscaping could be more water smart, contact a gardening professional with expertise in xeriscaping.

Window Boxer

Okay, so window boxes are nothing new (in fact, we think the original window boxes were probably grown in ancient Rome). But many homeowners are discovering the joy of this delightful form of container gardening for the first time. And we couldn’t be happier!

One thing to consider is what kind of window box you’d like to add onto your home. While the blooms will be the main attraction, the box itself (and to some extent, the plants within) should still match your home’s overall aesthetic. Many people choose to pick up on the home’s trim or accent color with the window box. Others still choose a metal box that coordinates with the fixtures.

Of course, window boxes don’t have to be purely decorative. Many home cooks put a window box of fresh herbs outside their kitchens. When you want fresh basil, just reach out and snip! Other homeowners fill their boxes with fragrant flowers so that when they open the window, the breeze brings in the beautiful scent.

A good rule of thumb: your window boxes should be the width of the window and 1/4 the height of a standard window (go a little shorter than that for very tall windows).

It’s Lit!

What’s new and now in home lighting solutions is evolving, seemingly by the day. There are always new technologies to make it more energy-efficient, more seamless, and more beautiful. So if it’s been a while since the last time you gave your exterior lighting any thought, maybe this is your sign.

“Moonlighting” places lights high up in trees, casting light down on the yard, imitating natural moonlight. As it filters through trees, it creates a subtle, elegant ambiance. Other types of downlighting are just as popular. With lights mounted on soffits, gazebos, arbors, and more, you can illuminate large areas or your home’s siding. This is a more elegant solution than the sometimes-harsh uplighting of years gone by.

Light color/warmth, lumen-rating, and wattage are important considerations. Work with a lighting technician to choose just the right mix to create the look, visibility, and home safety that you’re after.