Top 10 landscape trends for this season Email
Colorado Green NOW
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 03:49 AM
Succulents are a hot landscape trend for 2015Landscape pros identify what’s hot for Colorado landscapes and gardens this year

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) has compiled the latest list of landscape and garden trends. ALCC polled landscape industry professionals to find out what Coloradans are doing to maximize their outdoor experience. These top 10 trends for 2015 provide plenty of inspiration as we enter the growing season.   

Top 10 landscape trends for 2015

1. Live like you love water. The California drought is showing us how precious water supply is to our quality of life. While Coloradans have embraced water conservation and have significantly reduced water consumption, we need to be careful stewards of our water every year, regardless of the snowpack. There are easy ways to conserve outdoor water. Use only as much water as a plant needs.  Avoid over-watering plants because it not only makes good water sense, but it is often better for the plant. Check out advanced sprinkler technology that uses Wi-Fi connection to constantly monitor local weather conditions. Combined with data about the lawn (e.g. the slope, soil type, and vegetation), they automatically tell the sprinkler system how much water to release.

2. Get a “bang for your buck” through landscaping. According to home sales studies, high-quality landscapes increased home values up to almost 11 percent more than average landscapes.  Smart sellers know quality landscaping can separate their homes from others during the currently hot Colorado real estate market. Smart sellers also understand that landscaping yields an average nine percent return on every dollar spent, more than most other home improvements.

3. Protecting pollinators is a priority. More people are planting to invite pollinators into their gardens. Planting pollinator-friendly plants like rosemary, lavender, sage, sunflowers and verbena create a welcoming habitat for butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Protecting the most popular pollinator, honeybees, is a priority for both homeowners and landscape companies. When spraying or applying any products, check the label to determine whether the product should be used on flowering plants and also when is the appropriate time to use the product on these plants.  Federal and state laws require users to follow the label instructions when applying any pesticide.  When you need outside help, hire only licensed professional applicators.

4. Gardens help us heal, commune and eat healthier. Many studies prove that patients recover faster when they are exposed to natural sunlight and have the opportunity to spend time outdoors. For several years, hospitals have incorporated healing gardens into their campus designs, but now more hospitals are taking it a step further by building community gardens that allow neighbors to grow their own healthy vegetables, herbs and fruit. These community gardens are a gathering place for farmers markets. Some of the vegetables even end up in the hospitals’ cafeterias.

5. Reading, writing, arithmetic and gardening. School gardens are not a new trend, but incorporating the garden into a school’s curriculum is. At the William (Bill) Roberts ECE – 8 School in Denver, ALCC volunteers helped build a garden this year.  The school is using the garden as an outdoor classroom. Younger students will use the garden to hone their observational skills of sight, smell and feel. Elementary and middle school students will grow vegetables by seed in the classrooms to transplant into the garden. Math classes will practice geometry concepts by studying the garden’s design. Even the school’s cafeteria will benefit by preparing and serving garden-grown vegetables. At the Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, students helped landscape professionals redesign the school’s courtyard and worked side-by-side for the courtyard’s makeover.

6. ‘Immunize’ your plants by keeping them healthy. Keeping trees and plants healthy is their number one defense against pests and disease. With Emerald Ash Borer now in the state and the constant threat of drought, it’s more important now than ever to keep plants healthy to give them the best chance to thrive when threatened. Everything starts with good soil. Amend your soil, ensure good drainage and contact your local landscape pro or local extension office when in doubt. Trees also need pruning, the right amount of water and pest control. If a tree is not leafing out or lacks healthy foliage, consult with an arborist to get a health check.

7. Edible landscaping goes to micro level. A new trend in vegetable and herb gardens is the use of microgreens and they’re just not for Chia Pets anymore. Whether you sow a single container of microgreens or designate an entire section of your edible garden to the endeavor, you'll be trendy. The tiny sprouts are quick to grow (they take less than two weeks to go from seed to table), packed with nutrition and are adorable. Just shear, wash and eat.

8. Use succulents to update containers for low maintenance. Succulents are a new and popular trend in container gardening because they add fresh and modern interest to patios and porches.  Their low-water, low-maintenance requirements make them especially attractive to people on the go.  Because succulents store water in their leaves and/or stems, you can literally leave them for a week in full sun on your porch without any water and they will survive.  Plus, there’s no deadheading. You can’t say that about petunias. 

9. Take a lesson from Mother Nature on watering your trees. When it comes to watering your trees, chances are your sprinkler emitters are near the trunks of your trees. Take some advice from Mother Nature to determine where to apply water. When rain flows over the canopy of a tree, it cascades to the ground from the edges of branches to area called the drip line. This is where 90 percent of a tree’s water-absorbing roots are located. It’s important to move your sprinkler to the drip line as a tree grows. You may need to add emitters as a tree becomes larger as well. Moving emitters away from the trunk also will help to make your tree stable in the ground and help prevent leaning or toppling.

10. Hardscape makes home entertainment happen. Having a great backyard means you can host a variety summer events – from graduation parties to the 4th of July barbecue to the end-of-season bash on Labor Day weekend. Hardscape amenities – patio, pergola, deck, seating wall, fire pit – provide places for guests to gather, sit, relax, eat or dance. Hardscapes use ‘hard’ materials, like natural stone, manufactured blocks, wood, recycled materials and metal to create the spaces suited to your style of entertaining. The color and composition of these materials help define the mood. Many of these materials are quarried or produced right here in Colorado – so ask if the material is local or sustainably sourced.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Businesses can enforce drug-free workplace policy, judges rule
Turning a passion for sustainability into a marketing benefit
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge launched
Stingless wasps released in Boulder to target EAB

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