Justin White, Landscaping Course | Modern Landscape Ideas for 2022 – Santa Cruz Sentinel


Like trends in interior design, vehicles and fashion, landscaping styles adapt and renew themselves over the years. Driven by the pandemic, exterior improvements are at an all time high and 2022 is full of creative and fresh landscaping ideas. Browse these modern concepts to find inspiration for your next outdoor project.

Combine functionality and beauty

Maximize space: vertical gardens, hanging plants, use raised beds to avoid permanently altering the property, or potted plants to alter the flow and design where desired. Another fun example is repurposed wine barrels. You can find them at wineries and sometimes on websites like the Facebook Marketplace. When you cut them in half, they can create a beautiful addition to your garden and help keep your vegetables or plants off the ground. A bonus with raised beds is that gophers have a hard time disturbing your plants. Another popular trend is the metal horse troughs you can get at Tractor Supply Co. Fill them with premium soil and away you go.

Using different edging materials and bed shapes can really bring excitement to your garden. You can create an artistic design by using borders to distinguish between hardscape and softscape or between lawn and planting. To stick with a modern theme, I recommend using steel metal edging with a black finish. This allows for clean lines, 90 degree angles and a look that matches a modern home.

Minimal and clean

In modern landscaping, we see a lot more hardscape and fewer plants. These contemporary arrangements offer minimal upkeep while striking the eye. Concrete steps, planters, patios and even pathways make a bold statement, but paired with a few carefully placed plants or flowers you can soften any harsh edges. I also really like using black pebbles in place of mulch, it can give a clean, finished look with less maintenance down the road.

No more cold tones, place warm

Gray was heavily dominating previous landscape designs, but lately we’re seeing warm tones of tan, brown, and beige making their way onto the scene. Most concrete and pavers have a more natural color, blending in with other elements instead of standing out with an unsightly gray. Over time, these products require reapplying sealant and regular maintenance, so be sure to have a maintenance plan.

IPE decking has become a real craze in recent years. Unfortunately, this has pushed the price of this wood to new heights, coupled with recent supply chain issues and you could be looking at a pretty penny for an IPE deck or fence. Although the price is high, IPE can create a wonderful experience in your garden and give a soft and warm tone to your terrace. Be sure to check the price and see if you can fit it into your budget.

Pet Friendly Additions

Keeping our furry friends safe and happy outdoors is important for any pet owner. We see that many landscape improvements are now designed with their pets in mind: secure fencing, replacement of toxic plants and flowers, artificial turf and dog runs are just a few of the trends that are gaining popularity as as the number of pet owners and owners increases. If you are considering artificial grass options, be sure to ask for the pet-friendly option, which may include odor blocking and durability features.

Integrate technology to save water

Water will continue to be a top priority for us on the West Coast as we deal with drought issues. One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy landscape while conserving water is to upgrade your controller. Controlling the amount, time and duration of your system is crucial to avoid wasting water. Current technology allows controllers to be connected to your smart home or at least WiFi connected so you can adjust the system from anywhere in the world. You can add great additions to your controller, including rain sensors, automatic shut-off valves and more. This is a trend that will not fade and will continue to gain momentum when investing.

Justin White is the CEO of K&D Landscaping, headquartered in Watsonville, Calif., and was voted “2020 Business of the Year” by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. White is the past president of the mid-coast chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA). He is also involved in several non-profit organizations in the community. For more information on landscaping, outdoor and garden needs, contact K&D Landscaping at kndlandscaping.com.


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