Having a beautiful house without paying attention to the surrounding land is like wearing a beautiful outfit for a night out and then putting a potato sack on your head. It takes away from the beauty that’s already there. That’s where landscaping comes in.
The beauty of landscaping is that it can make a big impact on your curb appeal, even if you make the smallest changes. Even some well-maintained shrubs and flowers paired with stone steps can take the front of your house from “eh” to “wow.”
But let’s not forget the back of the house too. With the right landscaping, your backyard could be your very own sanctuary that welcomes you with open arms every time you come home from a long day. In fact, about two-thirds of homeowners use their outdoor spaces as a relaxing oasis. That number is so high for a reason. Most people want to come home and relax. And the right landscaping helps you do that.
I’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring landscaping trends to give you some great ideas for when you create your own backyard outdoor space.
Bring the Woods to You
Being out and about in nature is so instrumental to our well-being that there is a term for it — ecotherapy. Time spent in nature has numerous mental and physical health benefits. It improves your focus, provides mental clarity, reduces inflammation and can inspire creativity. And it can even offset the stress brought on by urban life, according to a Scandinavian study.
But it can be hard to take the time out of your day to go to a park or go hiking or camping, especially if you have a busy family. Creating a woodsy retreat in your own backyard means that nature and its many benefits are always just a few steps away.
Let There Be Light
Outdoor lighting and irrigation systems are some of the most popular landscaping upgrades, according to the Houzz study. And it makes sense. The right composition of lights can completely transform an outdoor space. Drape star-like lights on a tree your backyard turns into a romantic hideaway for two. Entertaining? Why not get a little creative with your lights?
It’s all about what mood you want to capture. Ask yourself what you want your outdoor space to be. Do you want it to be cozy, romantic, daring, relaxing or all of the above?
Get Smart with It
You have an advantage because you’re building your house from scratch. You’re not renovating, you’re designing. And that means that, unlike many people, you can get it right the first time around.
Smart landscaping can include technology allowing you to control things like sprinklers and fountains from your mobile device or computer. But being smart also means choosing solar or low-voltage lighting. Nearly half of outdoor renovators make those upgrades for a reason. They’re good for the environment and your energy bill. And there are so many other ways to be smart about your landscaping as well.
You can save up to 25 percent of energy just by changing the positioning of your trees alone. And the right amount of shade can increase the efficiency of your air conditioner. These little landscaping changes save you so much in energy costs in the long run. And the best part is that, since you’re building your house, you can fully optimize your outdoor space for energy efficiency. So you’ll have your backyard oasis and save on energy. It’s a win-win!
Using water in backyard landscaping is a big trend, according to Danna Cain of Home & Garden Design in Atlanta. There’s nothing quite as serene as listening to a waterfall or a fountain. Even sitting by a small pond evokes a calming sense of stillness.
You can try to make your water features look as natural as possible with stones and rocks or you can put your own personal touch on it by using pots or other vessels. Think of the kind of statement you want to make with your water features. You can keep it simple or go crazy. As long as you love it, that’s all that matters.
A backyard can be whatever you want it to be. A permanent date spot, a relaxing retreat or the perfect place to entertain. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re smart about it and have fun with it. The sky is the limit.
Danielle Small is a freelance writer and strategist with a few awards under her belt, including a 2016 Min Online’s Editorial Award for Opinion/Commentary.
She is a graduate of the New School in New York City, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She has written for a variety of publications including Salon, Fast Company and more.