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Landscaping Trends of the 21st Century

Top 10 Trends in Landscaping, 2000-2009

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Red bird of paradise shrub is sometimes called

Red bird of paradise is a drought-tolerant shrub grown in the thirsty U.S. Southwest.

David Beaulieu

The top ten landscaping trends in the first decade of the 21st Century can be roughly divided into two groups, as follows:

  1. Eco-friendly landscaping trends
  2. Landscaping trends pertaining to outdoor living

Not that there can't be plenty of overlap between the two groups. Sometimes, an eco-friendly approach dovetails conveniently with a goal of maximizing backyard fun in outdoor living. Landscaping trends within the two groups, furthermore, often complement one another.

Nor am I claiming that the landscaping trends in question appeared for the first time during the years 2000-2009. On the contrary, landscaping trends usually evolve over time, rather than bursting on the scene full-fledged. I merely argue that my ten picks are currently at the height of their popularity (as I compose these words at the end of 2009) in recent times and are well positioned to influence how homeowners treat their yards as we enter the next decade of the 21st Century.

Eco-Friendly Landscaping Trends

1. Fighting weeds organically. Some yards are, mercifully, subject to little in the way of pest invasions, thereby precluding the need to employ chemical pesticides. Compost is so easy to manufacture at home -- even in suburban yards -- that there's little reason to buy chemical fertilizers, unless you're adamant about maintaining a massive, perfectly-manicured lawn.

But chemical herbicides are a bit tougher to give up, for one simple reason: wherever there is soil in a yard, there will be weeds! Nonetheless, due in part to the increased access to information made possible by the Web, folks are again figuring out how to practice weed control without chemicals.

Read article: Weed Control Without Chemicals

2. Using less water in the yard. Whether it's adhering to an intricately detailed xeriscaping plan or simply favoring drought-resistant plants such as cacti and succulents when shopping at the nursery, more and more people are keeping water conservation in mind when deciding on what to plant in their yards. This landscaping trend isn't always entirely voluntary, as water restrictions sometimes force the homeowner's hand in this regard.

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3. Recycling: saving money while "saving the planet." Making use of recycled materials in the yard is a landscaping trend "with legs" due to its twofold justification: it's eco-friendly and dollar-savvy. Thus in this article on recycling ideas for the yard, I focus on what folks are doing in the recycling arena to save money while "saving the planet."

Read article: Recycling Ideas

4. Turning back the invaders. Invasive plants are exotic (i.e., non-native) plants that exhibit a tendency to escape into the wild and wreak havoc with native eco-systems. Invasives compete so successfully against natives that they can end up crowding them out and putting native populations at risk. But one landscaping trend of the 21st century is to "just say no" to invasive plants.

Read article: Invasive Plants

5. Going native. Saying no to invasive plants doesn't necessarily mean abstaining from exotic plants altogether, as not all of the latter are deemed a threat to native plant populations. And while a vocal sub-section of the gardening community is interested in replacing exotics entirely with native plants, a much larger group of people is seeking the "golden mean" between extremes. That is, a growing group of folks is turning toward natives on a selective basis, using them to deal with problem areas in the yard. For example, in this article I specifically discuss plants native to Eastern North America that flourish in wet areas -- areas where most other plants would struggle to survive.

Read article: Native Plants for Wet Areas

On Page 2 we turn to the landscaping trends that belong to the other grouping I mentioned above, namely, the "outdoor living" category....

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