Because some municipalities offer rebates for removing lawns, homeowners are ditching grass and choosing low-maintenance plantings and hardscapes that invite neighbors to gather.
Whether you’re thinking about planting, paving or practicality, now’s the time to start planning for a new landscape design.
By Vicki Martinez
Boulder County locals are known for their love of the outdoors, so it’s no surprise that beautiful and functional yards are high priorities for homeowners. Over the years, changes in style and structure mark this ever-evolving pursuit, and nobody has their finger on the pulse of those trends more than our local landscapers. We asked two to weigh in on the hottest trends for 2022.
Front + Center
Creating functional outdoor spaces is nothing new to landscape design. To make the most of every available space, some are shifting their focus forward.
Chris Woods, senior designer for Matrix Gardens, says that they’ve seen a growing interest in front yard renovations. The use of “sitting boulders”—locally sourced boulders strategically placed for kids to sit or climb on—is increasingly popular. Varied plantings and furnished seating areas are also taking priority over monoculture expanses of green carpet. “Clients are moving away from meticulously manicured lawns, opting for hospitable spaces for gathering with neighbors,” Woods says. There are even some municipalities that offer rebates for removing lawns, she adds. Even more reason to make the front yard more water-wise, turning pretty into practical.
Eco-friendly landscaping has grown beyond collecting rainwater and using organic fertilizer and pesticides. “Clients are more educated, requesting neonicotinoid-free plants and researching native plants to attract local wildlife,” says Woods. She suggests perennials, such as asters and spring-blooming bulbs like crocuses, to attract pollinators early in the season. Shrubs with berries will attract birds, and many gardens now include heated water features to provide a year-round water source for wildlife.
Whether the goal is to attract butterflies, birds, bees, cute little critters or all of the above, if you select the proper flora, the fauna will come.
Living In and Loving Our Outdoor Spaces
The most significant trend for 2022 will be a continued interest in creating and expanding livable outdoor spaces. Clients are replacing the typical barbecue grill and Adirondack chairs with fully equipped outdoor kitchens and designer furniture.
Paul Hartman with Changing Landscapes notes several additional backyard design trends: “We’ve had an increasing demand for swimming pools as clients work to create a personal backyard oasis. And, replacing the traditional concrete aprons/patios, we see blue flagstone or porcelain pavers set in a ‘running bond pattern,’ creating a clean and repetitive linear design.”
Smooth as Steel
In keeping with the trend toward more linear looks, Hartman predicts an increase in the use of steel in landscape designs. “In today’s homes, when windows span from floor to ceiling, they are often framed in steel. Accenting the sleek style and creating a smooth transition, we’re installing retaining walls, step risers and modern planters all forged from steel,” he says. “In past years, most designs utilized Corten steel that rusts from orange to dark purple. This season, steel is painted black, seamlessly complementing contemporary homes.”