With our penchant for making the most of what we have, Angelenos look for so much more than traditional grass lawns—not only foregoing the ‘need to weed’ but also bringing drought-friendly practicality and sociability to our outdoor spaces. Here are some of this year’s hottest landscaping trends, all geared to cultivating our properties for kindness, both to ourselves and to the environment. So pull up a chair, curl up on the grass and enjoy the sights and sounds of the hottest outdoor trends of the season.
The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah) has taken homeowners by storm this year, and the last several months have seen the trend applied to outdoor spaces! Although there is no direct translation of the word, hygge refers to the idea of creating a warm and cozy atmosphere, and enjoying the simple pleasures life offers. It is often credited as the reason that the Danes are the world’s most contented and happy people. How to introduce hygge to landscape design? It’s all about creating intimate outdoor entertaining areas. Seating, whether around a fire pit, under a pergola, or wherever, should be arranged for comfort and communication. That way, people can sit near one another and face each other for easy conversation. Cushions, rugs and pillows can add to the snuggly vibe as well.
“Trending upward in the past six months to a year,” says Jason Warren, CEO of Elemental Construction Inc, who specialize in swimming pools, landscape and outdoor design. “I’ve seen more and more requests for and we continue to design and build pizza ovens, expanded outdoor kitchens and barbeque areas,” With outdoor kitchens, the idea is to provide friends and family a cooking area that allows them to prepare the food together. The traditional grill, sink and refrigerator is being expanded these days to provide most, if not all, of the amenities of an indoor kitchen. Pizza ovens, islands, and grill stations are all on-trend.
Lighting and Sound
Another way that today’s landscape designs are upping the coziness quotient is through sound and lighting. Water features—both large and small—are popular for their soothing babbling background noise. Attention to lighting detail is big this year, used to enhance the relaxing ambience in a variety of ways such as moonlight-simulating lighting, under-lighting fire pits and benches, as well as lighting water features from the inside out. Another water feature, albeit more functional than decorative, that people are hankering for, notes Warren, is the outdoor shower. “They are not complicated to build and usually can meet most budgets when designed correctly,” Warren points out.
Pantone’s color of the year is ‘Greenery.’ Lush and invigorating, it has inspired the current ‘it’ look of decorating yards with plants in various shades of sumptuous greens. “We have done and continue to build ‘green living walls,’ ” says Warren, “which are pocket plants hanging off stucco, wood or old CMU—or concrete masonry unit property line walls.” We will continue to see less traditional turf grass and more ‘smart lawns’ filled with varieties of cultivars—cultivated grass varieties that are bred for heartiness and drought resistance Today’s lawns are drought-tolerant and sustainable, beautiful and able to withstand both dry summers and wet winters.
Think added enjoyment and eco-friendliness; these are the keys to current outdoor designs!