We’ve talked about a lot of different ways that you can spruce up your outdoor living space over the years, and many of them are catching on as the legitimate landscaping trends. For us, this is great news, because a lot of these options are not only attractive and versatile (and enjoyable to design and implement), they are also better choices for the environment. There’s no greater win/win than when we can help improve a property in a way that also requires fewer natural resources to maintain and encourages people to spend more time outdoors throughout the year.
1. Landscaping for year-round enjoyment
Landscaping trends that encourage people to make the most out of their yards are among our favourites. And given the circumstances we have all been through for a year now, our personal spaces are more important than ever.
Fire pits are great additions to every yard, and you can make them as much of a feature as you like. You could choose a simple above-ground fire pit that can be hooked up to your natural gas, or go more elaborate with a custom in-ground brick or stone fire pit constructed with a surrounding patio for benches, chairs, and additional storage. When constructing wood-burning fire pits, a concrete or stone base is mandatory to help combat fires starting from flying sparks.
An outdoor fireplace it a lot like a fire pit, but comes with additional safety features. Due to the fact that it is enclosed with fire-safe materials, sparks and ashes are more contained. The small chimney also helps direct the smoke in the right direction.
The crème-de-la-crème, an outdoor kitchen is an amazing addition to any yard. Most include counter space, cabinets and a grill made out of low-maintenance, tough and durable products such as stone and stainless steel. A dining area is also a must, of course. Natural gas heaters can provide light and keep you warm well into the evening, and additional lighting choices could be powered by electrical or solar energy. Outdoor kitchens are easiest to maintain when they are roofed in or covered up when not in use.
2. Gardening to eat
One of our favourite landscaping trends is using outdoor garden spaces to grow food. Lots of people in Calgary are beginning to realize that growing herbs, vegetables, and even some fruits is very rewarding, providing fresh options for meals and opening people up to being even more creative in their kitchens. Gardening for food teaches children the value of what they are consuming and allows them to see the growing process from mere seeds to a feature on their plates.
Other benefits to building your own vegetable garden are reduced costs at the grocery store, increased physical activity for the whole family, and the ability to share extras with friends and family. Here are some vegetables that do fine in a regular Calgary climate.
3. Using more local species
Calgary’s garden centres always introduce a few new and exciting choices every year, and one that we really like to see is the incorporation of more native plants to the inventory. Trees such as the lodgepole pine, white spruce, and aspen poplar are attractive and hardy choices. And local raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry bushes provide fresh fruit for munching on and baking your favourite treats.
Xeriscaping is moving away from being a trend and more towards being the actual norm, especially in drier areas of the world. Very simply put, xeriscaping refers to a landscape that is made for less maintenance and requires less water than traditional designs. Common elements of a xeriscaped property include drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, and perennials mulched in and then covered with a layer of rocks. Larger boulders provide focal points, and retaining walls provide architectural interest.
5. Planting to attract bees and pollinators
Bees are incredibly important little pollinators, and Calgarians can help support their population by planting to attract and feed them. Bees are drawn to flowers by their colours and their odors, and seem to prefer those that are on spikes, such as lavender, veronica spicata, salvia and liatris spicata. Sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod, honeysuckle, Echinacea and anything daisy-like also seem to work well.
6. More intricate hardscaping
Landscaping trends that involve hardscaping are always a boon for us as we get to tout our expertise in building patios and pathways. We love that people are not only thinking about the utility aspect of their hardscaping, but also how they can make it more beautiful. We are seeing people choosing more diverse materials and asking for intricate designs and patterns to accent outdoor décor.
7. Irrigating to save water
Underground irrigation used to be seen as a luxury, but the truth is that is actually saves a ton of water. Sprinklers can be set to deliver water exactly where it is needed, and placed on timers so they go off at the most opportune time of day. Due to their efficiency, underground sprinkler systems require far less water to irrigate completely. Rain detectors also shut systems off automatically if there has been enough natural moisture.
8. Smarter lighting
All landscaping trends need to be accentuated by great lighting, the choices for which have greatly evolved. Solar lamps can be placed throughout yards to brighten dark corners and illuminate pathways. String LED lights can be placed along the top of fences, wrapped around banisters and posts, and along the edges of retaining walls. In addition, outdoor fixtures with LED bulbs last longer, cost less to run, and operate better in cold temperatures.
9. Better heat
Natural gas and propane heaters have dramatically improved, and can provide both warmth and light for the colder, darker evenings.
Calgary Landscaping by Mirage
If you’re ready to take the next step for your outdoor project, we’re here to provide all the assistance and expertise you need. Browse our portfolio to get the creative juices flowing and request a quote or inquire about any of our other services through our contact form.