Top Landscaping Trends for 2012


This is the time of year when we get to dream about our gardens as we peek out the windows to combat cabin fever. Fortunately, there are always improvements, changes and additions to be imagined for your garden, from the simplest new plant to more grand renovations.

Here are some of the newest trends and possibilities that will jump start your creative thinking:

Efficient and fun irrigation system

This is the year to stop applying band-aids to irrigation systems that are old and inefficient. A water-smart system is a basic and elemental component of a thriving landscape. Technical improvements have made sprinkler systems renovations more economical, while the computer automation will let you control your entire watering system from the couch. That, gentlemen, is fun!

Right plant for the right location

This is hardly a new concept, but the advances in plant development have given us a wider selection of plant material that is user-friendly: not only will the plants perform better in the proper location, but the correct choice of tree, shrub or perennial can eliminate a lot of maintenance issues. Coupled with the above mentioned irrigation updates, this can save you money over the long term.

Old time favorites, but better

The latest issue of Fine Gardening magazine lists just a few of a slew of classic plants that have been improved to resist powdery mildew (‘Palabin’ dwarf lilac), re-bloom (‘Rosy Returns’ daylily), have interesting blooms and foliage (‘Kumson’ forsythia), and fight off slugs (‘Elegans’ hosta). Basically, we get to rejuvenate Grandma’s garden!

Natural interest

Plants are now appreciated for their personalities; grasses bring winter texture and are no longer sheared, seasonal berries color the shrubs, trees are chosen for their bark, and shrubs for their branching. Nature is encouraged and respected.

Water elements

Water is still present in the gardens, even if the scale is more manageable; bubblers, water-pots and fountains require little maintenance, smaller spaces and recycled water make them environmentally friendly. More intimate in scale, these smaller water gardens complement terraces and courtyards, while larger and more naturalistic water features can dominate further out in the landscape. Koi will enjoy one and birds the other.

Mediterranean landscapes

Their design principles can apply to Colorado landscapes; wide open courtyards, textured floor treatments, hedges, vines, drought-tolerant plants, lavender, roses, and grasses. And of course containers planted with succulents, annuals, perennials, herbs and even dwarf shrubs and small trees bring interest throughout the seasons.


Metal is omnipresent in the 2012 garden, whether it is copper, iron or stainless steel. Use it as a focal point with a sculpture, a container grouping, an arbor or an antique gate. Soften it with a vine gently twisting around it and marking the passage of time along with the patina and rust. Or be bold and install a stainless steel spa.

Color, color, color

What is a garden if not pure color? Old fashioned colors are making a strong come back in the garden: rose and mauve lead the way. Pair them with wheat-yellow blooms or David Austin roses for an enchanting combination.

New outdoor rooms

Check back next month and discover what you didn’t know you absolutely needed in your back yard.


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