After Covid, the trend for desirable outdoor living spaces continues. People want to maximize their property and extend living outside. They are also working more from home. Whether its fully remote or hybrid, people need a place to relax and recharge their batteries. An outdoor living space, with beautiful plants, is a great way to do it.
Although the concept of outdoor living spaces remains strong, the elements that are involved can vary from client to client. We’re seeing a trend toward more naturalistic materials. Think low profile decks with Cedar or Ipe wood. Pea gravel patios and stacked stones walls can also combine to make up a patio that feels like a natural extension of the existing landscape. Fire Pits are popular, and luckily there are a variety of options. From off-the-shelf smokeless varieties, to natural boulders. It all depends on the family’s makeup, neighborhood density and client preferences.
As nationwide developers try to make the most of available land, lot sizes continued to shrink 18% as well. Compared to the 20 biggest cities in the country, Philadelphia has the smallest average lot size. Most of our landscaping work is on the outskirts of Philadelphia, where homes have both front and rear yards. However, we do a lot of work with row home owners in areas like Fishtown, Center City, South Philadelphia, and more. We love doing these smaller spaces, because they feel more intimate and pose a creative challenge to maximize usage. We'll be writing a blog soon about garden design for smaller spaces.
With economic uncertainty continuing into an election year, many people may desire to stay put. Now is a great time to reevaluate your property’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re seeing many properties with landscape elements that were poorly installed in the 80s or 90s. There’s a trend now toward proper construction methods and many homeowners are beginning to look at renovating their landscapes, making it more livable. Besides hardscape elements, it’s also a great time to look at overgrown trees, shrubs and border mixes. For smaller spaces, there is a new inventory of plants, designed with slower growth habits and vertical growth habits. Flower Powered can help you pick the right plants for your space.
A variety of plant color and texture continues to trend in Pennsylvania, where a sea of green is the norm in Summertime. We continue to encourage clients to think about a progression of seasonal blooms, punctuated with bright seasonal color and annuals in planters and window boxes. Clients also need to think about planting in bunches. Using the same plant, in masses, is more impactful when viewed at a distance. It also makes for a great design element, leading the eye through the garden. Today, many houses are being painted in darker colors. We love the look of a black modern farm house. In this case, you want your plants to play off of the dark colors, not blend in.
Hardy seems to be the word of the day. With longer heatwaves, clients want low maintenance varieties that will acclimate well to low water environments. The increase in utility costs and more municipal restrictions are also facilitating this trend. We’re always on the lookout for shrubs and perennials that will adapt better to the environment and requires less watering after they are established. We do this in several ways. 1. We take note of what works and what doesn’t. 2. We plant many varieties in our our own test garden. 3. We utilize the knowledge of our growers and nurseries to see what plants are being returned the most. We’ve found that one of the hardiest varieties of perennials is Euphorbia. We love the Ascot Rainbow variety. Use it in a sunny garden bed, or in planters and it should last from late spring through the fall.