Art and design trends happen on a continual basis in fashion, design, architecture, technology and culture.
Every year, paint companies announce their “color of the year,” and interior designers take note.
New trends do happen in the landscape industry as well, but in a seemingly slower fashion. This makes sense, as it’s much easier to change your wardrobe or paint the living room than it is to replace your landscaping or backyard environment.
Living and working in the south will mean that adaptation to new design trends in architecture and horticulture will generally be slower still.
The truth is that the day-to-day challenges of running a business can sometimes overwhelm our capacity to think creatively. This is a still design industry though, which gives us the freedom and opportunity to think creatively and build inspiring outdoor environments that are unique and unusual for our area.
It is the best feature of my job!
The Latest Pool Designs
When we design and build turnkey outdoor spaces, we notice that pools and outdoor kitchens are now more modern in design and shape.
Their functions are changing a little as well. We all remember the pools of our childhoods with diving boards and massive slides. Today’s clients want adult hangouts and an overall outdoor environment that is entertaining and relaxing for the entire family.
Pools are being installed for their young kids to enjoy now, but with the functionality and timelessness for future empty nesting. This means shallow ends for lounging and cocktails, sports-depth pools, robust oversized spas nearby, well-appointed outdoor kitchens and areas that allow people to feel like they’re on vacation in their own backyard.
In the past five years, we haven’t designed any free-form pools, as the trend toward modern, grid-like shapes and patterns has become the most popular design standard.
Coping and hardscapes have been trending away from multi-colored stones to a more modern aesthetic of white, neutrals and simple basic shapes, reflective of the modern farmhouse and minimal aesthetic.
Our scupper and water feature choices are trending to sleek and modern. Gone are the days of lion heads spewing water—at least for now. In addition, salt water pools were very popular here for a while.
We are now steering and educating our clients of the corrosive nature of salt and trending towards chlorine once again.
On the landscaping side of business, I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years of clients requesting edible gardens and landscaping that includes edibles.
Our clients are becoming more aware of, and requesting, native plants, trees and shrubs added to their landscapes for the environmental benefits they provide as well.
Our landscape designs focus more on textures and foliage colors, with less emphasis on flowering plants and shrubs only.
This has been a welcome trend for us in south Louisiana as the tried-and-true landscape trinity of azaleas, camellias and crepe myrtles was always just a safe design option for designers for far too long.
Not to say that these three plants don’t have merit—they do. But there’s less reliance on these options to carry the overall design.
Lastly, synthetic turf has really improved in quality, sustainability and appearance in the past few years and we’re finding some really great applications for it in many of our residential projects and our clients are eagerly adapting to it!
And, of course, using technology to improve our lives and make our homes more efficient has definitely crossed over to the outside of the home. Our clients are tech-savvy now, and they definitely want the new tools to manage their exterior lighting, pool equipment and irrigation systems.
Keeping abreast of new trends in landscape design and architecture is the easy part. Being instrumental in adapting to new trends and bringing our clients aboard is always a little more challenging—but also the most rewarding.
Brooke Inzerella is a licensed landscape horticulturist and owner of Horticare Landscape Company in Lafayette, Louisiana. horticarelandscape.com