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New Economy Landscaping Trends

"The biggest overall (home) trend is that people are cocooning -- that is, people are staying at home and creating multi-use spaces," said landscape architect Mark White, owner of Garden Wise in Arlington. "They want to be able to cook outdoors and have a dining area. They might want a water feature. They are creating a place for a mini-vacation in their backyard."

There are several landscaping niches that are gaining popularity due to the "cocooning effect."

Water Elements
From custom waterfalls to simple, self-contained urn systems, fountains and ornamental water features are gaining in popularity as a way to create a tranquil backyard oasis. "Given the state of the economy and the fact that people are leading hectic lives, many are wanting calm spaces in their backyards," said White. "They are using water elements to create soothing sounds."

Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are popular as eco-minded homeowners look for ways to decrease water pollution. Rain gardens allow rainwater runoff from surfaces like roofs, driveways and walkways to be absorbed into the ground instead of storm drains.

Harvesting Rainwater
"Many people are now collecting rainwater in rain barrels and using it to water their plants," White said. "You can connect a hose to the barrel and use it to water your garden." In regions of the country under restricted irrigation rules, harvested water is exempt from irrigation restrictions.

Edible Landscapes
Landscapes incorporating both edible and decorative plants are gaining popularity now, as they providing both food and beauty. "There has been a huge interest in vegetable gardens, container gardens and fruit gardens, especially dwarf fruit trees, tomatoes, peppers and herbs," said Sherry Schenk of Potomac Garden Center in North Potomac.

Animal Resistant Landscaping
"Anything that is deer resistant is popular now," said Alex Dencker of Behnke Nurseries in Potomac. "Nandina and cherry laurel are deer resistant. 'Green giant arborvitae' works if you're looking for screen plants to create privacy. They grow tall very quickly."

Native Plants
Designers say indigenous plants often grow beautifully with little maintenance and no fertilizer Drought tolerance makes native plants favorites among homeowners and landscape designers. "Purple cone flower are popular, as are creeping phlox which blooms early, provides great ground cover and requires little maintenance," said Dencker. "Black-eyed Susans and redbud trees are also native plants that have colorful buds. There are so many birds and other critters that need our native plants to survive. That is another reason why our native plants are so important."

It's important to find the best native plants for your project's area, as those listed in the article may not be appropriate for your area.

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January 25, 2020, 2:59 am PDT

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