Here’s Why Fall Is the Perfect Time for Some Major Landscaping
Photo credit: Margie Grace Associates
Autumn is just around the corner and we are more than ready for the transition to fresh, cool weather. However, as many of us are preparing to go back to the office at least a few days a week, it’s important to think about how we’ll be adapting our outdoor spaces to our new schedules this fall. Likewise, our outside areas are sure to become more sacred than ever as we move through our new normal and are likely to experience more hustle and bustle in our daily lives.
First-time gardeners who discovered a new passion for plants during the pandemic, and long-time gardeners, have to deal with less flexibility and time at home when maintaining their lawn and garden, but there are many ways to ensure that your landscaping is in pristine condition . We reached out to landscape architect Margie Grace of Grace Design Associates and Joe Rabione, director of Belgard Residential Hardscapes to share emerging landscape trends and help us transform our landscapes for a season of sheltering, harvesting and finding solace in prepare for the great outdoors.
How the summer weather affects the autumn landscapes
Photo credit: Holly Lepere
Grace says that since the weather seems less predictable these days than ever before, it will have an impact on the way we landscape this fall. The landscape architect is based in Montecito, California and says the pursuit of “water-smart, fire-smart, low-maintenance outdoor spaces” will continue to be a top priority in the western United States. Fuel content landscapes. That requires leaning against more weatherproof plants and using other materials like gravel and stone instead of grass in traditional lawns. She also expects many landscape requests to be related to food production, with orchards, vegetable and herb gardens still being a priority, even as we venture out of the house more often.
“In the east I tend to see a ‘wait and see’ attitude,” says Grace. “People move forward with landscape features like covered patios, outdoor cooking areas, fire pits, pools, and other hardscape elements.” However, the designer sees much less intensive planting plans and requests for easy-care planting borders.
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“The trend to make optimal use of outdoor spaces continues, but landscapes are becoming less plant-centered,” she says.
Autumn plantings to be considered
Photo credit: Holly Lepere
Grace has five popular fall plants that are festive to the touch and add shine to your outdoor design scheme. She loves Boston Ivy to wrap the exterior of a house in a crimson blanket while adding a historical flair to your home in the spring and summer. These plans do best in USDA hardship zones 4-8. She’s also happy to bring fall oak leaf hydrangeas, which have red leaves during the season and thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
Another popular fall plant is the Japanese maple tree, which does best in the colder USDA Hardiness Zone 1-7 environments, but they can be grown in a shaded location in Zones 8-9 with a little extra care and planting. Natchez crepe myrtle trees are an autumn favorite to add vibrancy to your landscape as “the bright orange and yellow autumn leaves contrast with the sculptural shape of a multi-stemmed crepe myrtle” [is] Perfection! ”These beauties will be at their best in USDA hardiness zones 7-9.
Tulip trees are a popular fall favorite as these tall, shady trees offer a fiery display of yellow foliage and are the best of both worlds in their California coastal town as they offer all the colors with a short leaf breaking season. Also called tulip poplars, these trees are best for those who live in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
Emerging fall landscaping trends
Credit: CHIPPER HATTER
“We’ll be busy again and will likely spend less time in our outside areas, but I think we’ll continue to stay outside,” says Grace. “We are really rooted in the stress-relieving nature of our outdoor spaces and we will continue to cherish and seek the time we spend in our gardens and outdoors in order to maintain the feeling of well-being.”
With this in mind, the landscape architect says that people long for simplicity and a place of refuge to connect with nature. Many of the inquiries her company receives include calm plant pallets, a calming water feature that attracts wildlife, and high habitat value plantings that attract pollinators. She also notes that we are still a long way from past the emotional toll of the pandemic and that many people are hungry to make their outdoor spaces more livable. Your customers also want help in finding outdoor furniture that is comparable in design and comfort to indoor furniture in order to make these rooms more inviting.
Editing plans from contractors across North America, Rabione’s team says that as more people see their outdoor areas as destinations for activities other than just al fresco dining, they are becoming daily retreats to work, play, meditate to relax, eat, and build relationships.
“People are thinking a lot more about using these spaces to improve their overall health, wellbeing, and add value to their lives, and that’s a radically different way than we are used to thinking,” says Rabione. “It used to be just, how can I fit 20 people out here on a weekend afternoon?” The functions we see a lot these days are yoga and medicine rooms, outdoor offices – spaces that are much more individual than just community-based. Because of this, the size of our usable outdoor space has increased significantly over time and there’s a lot more to it. ”This means that people are doing more to incorporate important aspects of their indoor life outdoors, and he says that one of the most important Inquiries from his team is to improve the outdoor lighting options so that families can enjoy these spaces long after the summer season.
“We’ve been saying for a while that we need to move the indoor spaces outside, and it’s really like we’re building houses for people outdoors with all of these characteristics,” says Rabione. There is so much technology out there now made specifically for outdoor living with bluetooth and WiFi. Outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and pergolas are the top requests we’re getting right now, and all of these really are indicators that people are still wanting to use their outdoor spaces year round. “
What to consider before creating an autumn landscape plan
Photo credit: Holly Lepere
Rabione says now is the time to come up with a fall landscaping plan with a trusted expert or on your own as there is so much demand for labor right now. He recommends starting with a clear understanding of your vision for your landscape and outdoor spaces, being clear about the size and scope of your project, and the colors and textures you are looking for to streamline the process.
“At the top of the list is always the question: How do you see yourself or your family using this space?” says Grace. “How would you like to feel in the proposed space? Think about the resources, time and budget you want to devote to the project. As always with any project, the steps to creating a new space are: dreaming, exploring, design, build and live. “
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