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New Ideas in Landscape Architecture and Design

new ideas in landscape design

Are you ready for something fresh and beautiful to start the new landscape design year? The most exciting places are made by people who either don’t know or don’t worry about the rules. The best landscape designs of the future will come from designers who are not intimidated and refuse to do the same old thing. I look forward to being amazed at the creativity and courage shown in your new design ideas.

Great ideas are serendipitous to experiencing a site first hand. Don’t be afraid to get your boots muddy! The most stunning sites are created while standing and thinking in the very spots to be transformed. So, start fresh, call up your experience and training, and immerse yourself in a new site project where you toss out the rules.

Landscape Design Trends - Easy-Care Outdoor Spaces

Easy-Care Outdoor Spaces 

landscape design trends, easy-care landscapes If This is Your First Time HereLCHQ is an advanced design guide for professional landscaping.

When it comes to trends for outdoor spaces, clients desire a place to unwind and slow down. They do not want to face more work when they step away from their air-conditioned offices and traffic. According to the 2018 American Society of Landscape Architects survey of residential landscape architecture trends, people want a break from landscape chores so they can entertain themselves with electronic media or hobbies. They want the yard to take care of itself, and they see their best way for attaining relaxation and peace is through native plants which don’t need a lot of watering, less lawn, low maintenance design, efficient irrigation, and a nearby charging station for their mobile devices. People want to sit outdoors while remaining connected.

Landscape Design Trends - Pet Friendly Gardens

Gardens and Dogs

pet-friendly landscapesLCHQ is an advanced design guide for professional landscaping.

I love my dog, but my dog does not respect my garden. It was a shock to discover my dog’s lack of appreciation for flower beds and a finely-manicured lawn. More people are getting dogs and finding out how the landscape can suffer from typical dog behavior. The bigger the dog, the bigger the landscape problems.

Dogs create dirt paths, because they like to patrol their territory. Natural turf grass cannot hold up to repeat dog traffic. Bare soil is muddy soil when it is exposed to the elements. You can pave dog paths or use stone mulch in areas where dogs are allowed to run, and limit access to precious flower beds through fencing or cages. Paving can be hot in mid-summer and stone mulch can have sharp edges, so your dog may create new paths to be able to run in the cool, soft grass, and, eventually, soft mud. You can counter this instinct by making it inconvenient to stray

Landscape Design Trends - Pollinators

Buzz Words

pollinator gardensLCHQ is an advanced design guide for professional landscaping.

Think big! I attended a garden club where one of the speakers suggested we all let Dandelions flower in our gardens in early spring because bees have few options for nectar at that time of year. It made me worry. Their only hope of survival on the planet was access to the flowering weeds in my yard? I go to a lot of trouble to remove weeds in my lawn, including hand-pulling. Then I began to reflect on the tenacity and invasive nature of Dandelions, and realized early spring bees will fare the same, with or without Dandelions in my lawn. Before you let all the weeds in your lawn grow and go to seed to provide nectar for bees, think about how you can more effectively increase the number of pollinators in your yard. The scope of the decline of bee populations goes far beyond the boundaries of a quarter-acre suburban lot. To understand the plight of honey bees, it helps to expand preservation efforts to large-scale, commercial concerns.

Landscape Design Trends - Green Walls

A Sound Idea, In Theory

green wallsLCHQ is an advanced design guide for professional landscaping.

A green wall is often a feature in contemporary landscape proposals. In urban areas and along roadsides, the idea of a vertical panel of living plant material offers an ecologically sensitive solution to increase the natural world in tight spaces with limited real estate. A green wall is skinny, but tall, hiding blight and introducing fresh air and softness into the concrete hardscape. As a green feature, it delights stakeholders and evokes optimism. In theory, a green wall makes perfect sense.

A green wall starts as a structural planter with a permanent trellis system. The trellis system is usually made of fixed, modular units—small, boxed openings stacked to provide planting holes for vertical plant placement along the face of the wall. The entire plant system is dependent on water, so green walls often have expensive irrigation delivery built within the structure. Plants are inserted individually into openings, or entire trays of pre-grown plant material are removed and replaced as needed, usually on a monthly basis. A green wall system is expensive and requires constant maintenance, but a green wall is often sold as a carefree, innovative idea.

Landscape Design Trends - Roof Gardens

Tread carefully!

landscape trends, roof gardenLCHQ is an advanced design guide for professional landscaping.

A roof is an unused space just waiting for a creative landscape design, and planting it can have a mitigating effect on the environment of the building, but keep in mind the huge weight and damage wet soil can bring to the structure. No matter how sturdy the roof, plant material options will be limited, because of the limited root space on a roof. Large trees, even if they are located above structural columns in the building, need more room for root growth than a rooftop garden can provide. Use plant material suited to roof gardens—Sedums, Junipers, Herbs, Daylilies, vines, and ornamental grasses.

If you don’t know the weight and load your garden design will put on a roof, you could be creating a very dangerous, elevated Eden. Hire a structural engineer and check building codes. Don’t play with the idea of growing plants on a roof without careful load and drainage calculations. Use special structural soil manufactured to be light-weight. Provide an over-designed underground drainage system to accommodate future plant growth.

A roof garden must be able to withstand extreme weather and earthquake activity. If it fails under stress, all the floor below it can be damaged. A leaking roof can destroy an entire building. Rooftops that carry gardens must be able to carry wet soil and drain properly. Retrofitting an older building is difficult to do successfully, so the best rooftop garden for an older building is a garden of large planters. New buildings can be designed to accommodate a roof garden, and offer better opportunities to create a safe, successful structure.