Backyard Trends of 2018

The beginning of the year is always a great time to think about creating or redesigning your backyard. Here is a glimpse of some backyard trends for 2018.

Two dominant trends we have seen are the use of the color purple and mental health and wellness. Wellness is a buzzword of the New Year and Garden Media Group is calling the trend "Nature's Rx." From plant-based diets to forest bathing, consumers are focusing on improving their physical and mental health by incorporating Mother Nature more into their lives. Your backyard is the perfect place to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, but using the ideal design can make all the difference in the benefits you will reap.

Increased greenery is popular by using lush, green plants throughout your backyard to create a peaceful space that’s perfect for relaxation and meditation. Forest bathing, visiting a forest or wooded area for a short walk, also has been good for rejuvenation. At home, you can mimic the effect by planting trees, shrubs, and flowers along a path turning it into a walk of tranquility. You don't need anything too fancy to create a small meditation area in your garden. For example, something as simple as a small bench can inspire and encourage reflection. If you're an early riser, try placing a bench facing east so you can watch the sun come up before a busy day or face it west to relax and watch the sunset. Modern zen garden designs also accomplish a similar goal. Sitting in a shady corner surrounded by a pond and succulent plants set amid smooth stones is a great way to enjoy the garden's serenity.

Water features are not only visually appealing but give you the calming sound of flowing water with the added bonus of blocking outside noise from cars and neighbors. The soothing sound of running water is a welcome addition to meditation gardens of all shapes and sizes. Imagine taking a seat next to a gorgeous rock waterfall on a beautiful sunny day and relaxing in your backyard. You’re probably already feeling less stressed! Reflecting pools provide a similar result. It’s easy to get lost in a pool reflecting the sky and clouds, which makes it great for winding down or starting your day. DIY projects are extremely popular and a great way to de-stress. Upcycled water features and plants are the perfect way to test out your skills on a DIY. At home, try using salvaged items to create a pond-in-a-pot. A stock tank with a spigot creates the perfect backyard water feature. This eco-friendly mindset has also led to more gardeners looking for ways to reuse items they may already have lying around, like old boots or a watering can, and making them into a unique planter. Just make sure to give the vessel proper drainage holes. Customize your water feature or yard with timeless colored lighting options that are perfect for every occasion. For this season, get purple lights to give off a regal and soothing vibe. As with everything else, smart technology is being incorporated into everything including outdoor lighting design so check out some smart lighting options to make your life easier.

Speaking of making life easier, a huge theme this year is the term low maintenance. Many people are interested in gardening but don't have time and this is where low-maintenance garden design comes into play. The bedhead garden, an informal planting method that relies on easy-care and native plants that look good without all the extra work, is a perfect suggestion for the busy gardening enthusiast. Wildflowers fit right in with the bedhead garden style. Choose indigenous varieties that are already adapted to your climate and you'll hardly have to lift a finger. Precious cottage gardens are usually low-maintenance by nature. This garden style also creates a natural wildlife refuge that will keep your garden buzzing with excitement all season long. Purple hyssop can provide a frame for a cottage garden filled with shrubs and grasses in a range of green shades and textures. We recommend adding Mexican feather grass, an extremely fine-textured ornamental grass that’s among the most "hair-like" plants, and watching it sweeping and flowing in the breeze is delightful. These can be used in a rainscape design that requires little to no water. You can create a much more sustainable and striking visual result with an assortment of conifers, flowering plants like the Swamp Hibiscus (that have a pop of color with their red flowers), other ornamental grasses, and non-fussy perennials. Similar to the rainscape, a xeriscape requires little to no irrigation or upkeep and is ideal for arid weather. A rock garden with local plants will help conserve water while displaying an attractive design. Low-water plants like succulents make a beautiful addition. For example, Echeveria blends beauty with strong textural appeal. A butterfly bush is another type of low water plant that brings on twice the color and these sweetly fragrant flowers lure butterflies, hummingbirds, and a host of other flitting and zipping insects to the garden while also being deer resistant.

Consumers are trying to add more plants to their diet, so adding edible plants to your landscape is easy, attractive, and affordable. Tuscan kale can be planted in the fall and is actually sweeter after a frost or freeze. Soybeans are rich in protein and growing a crop of edamame rolls out the welcome mat for deer, groundhogs, and rabbits. You can also harvest sunflower seeds for a nutritious snack straight from the backyard. Keeping with the purple trend, the color on 'Purple of Sicily' cauliflower is fantastic, as is this Italian heirloom's sweet flavor. 'Purple Passion' asparagus adds color to salads and offers a sweet, tender bite. ‘Fairy Tale’ hybrid eggplant is an award-winning, compact variety that bears clusters of marbled fruits. Each creamy-tasting, purple and white "egg" measures 4 to 5 inches long and tastes as delicious as it is beautiful.

Some nice final touches on your backyard design are comfortable furniture and incorporating fire. Fire pits are one of the most common fire features, but if you’re interested in something smaller with the same effect, firepots are a perfect option that still can create a relaxing and cozy ambiance in any backyard.

Don’t wait! Follow these tips and get started on planning your dream backyard for 2018 now.