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Landscape Design Fashions for Spring/Summer 2012 It   looks   very   much   like   the   trend   for   black   and   amber   shades   in   planting   will   continue  unabated. Many garden design experts have been using the dark drama of black plants for  years   now,   but   combined   with   amber   leaves   and   foliage   too   –   the   effect   on   landscape  architecture is truly startling. We will be seeing much more garden design with amber shades  and amber tones. Low­risk,   high­value   plants   will   of   course  continue   to   be   very   popular   in  landscape  architecture.   Just   as   gardeners   are   being  more careful with their water useage in these  times   of   drought,   they   are   also   shopping  smarter,   and   looking   for   greater   value   for  money. In particular, they’re looking for low­ risk,   high­value   plants   that   not   only   look  good   in   the   garden   centre   or   nursery,   but  also   have   a   tried­and­tested   reputation   for  solid growth and flowering or fruiting. Landscape design companies such as Kim  Wilkie,   Sarah   Eberle   and   Jinny   Blom  regularly   use   plants   that   are   bred   to  withstand attacks from pests and diseases,  and that are also tolerant of the local climate  and soil extremes. Of course designing for your clients in this way will provide far better value.   And   its   not   just   garden   designers   taking   this   approach.   Gardeners   themselves   are   more  aware than ever that choosing the right plant for the right situation is crucial if you want to  garden in an environmentally sound way (and watch the bank balance too). Long­term colour,  for example, can be easily and  cheaply achieved by using continuously flowering shrubs such  as hydrangeas, potentilla and spirea.  Water   features   are   getting   smaller   in   landscape   design   this   season   too.   More   and   more  people are moving away from large ponds and towards smaller water features such as a cut  piece of stone, a boulder or a beautiful glazed urn with water bubbling from it’s top. The cost  of time and maintenance is one of the issues here – the time is takes to look after a real pond  (or to pay someone else to do so) is something we don’t have much of in 2012. Garden design companies such as Randle Siddeley or Andy Sturgeon have also been using  natural stone or metal a great deal in their water features this year. Ball­shaped fountains   made of stone or copper are particularly popular as are beautifully weathered metal planters   and pots or containers.

In   colder   countries,   garden   design  professionals   are   keeping   ornamental  grasses each year, instead of cutting them  back,   so   that   they   can   provide   winter  interest to the landscape architecture. And  for   the   same   reason,   garden   design   is  featuring   planting   with   winter   berries,  evergreens, barks of different colours and  textures   or   deciduous   trees   and   shrubs  with dramatic forms.  It   seems   that   landscape   design   clients  and customers have grown tired of the stark, all­season gardens that were so fashionable a  few   years   ago.   This   year,   according   to   Randle   Siddeley   and   other   celebrated   garden  designers, its all about designing with a backbone of plants that look great year round, but in   a scheme that is not at the expense of seasonal interest and colour. And   research   backs   up   some   of   these  trends   too.  The   number   of   front   garden  design jobs (those landscapes you drive  or   walk   through   to   reach   a   property)   is  also   on   a   steady   rise   according   to   the  Garden   Trends   Research   Reports   Early  Spring   2011   survey   (conducted   for   the  Garden   Writers   Association   Foundation  in   America).   It   seems   more   people   are  thinking  about the  public appearance of  their properties (and very possibly house  value) as well as their private gardens. Vertical   gardening   is   still   a   trend   in  garden design. The practice of growing plants up from the ground instead of out, or of planting  them   off   the   ground   to   start   with   on   trellises,   arbors,   balconies   and   walls   has   become   especially popular among those gardeners with small awkward spaces. One particular vertical   gardening trend that looks likely in 2012 is green roofs. Green roofs help save on heating and   cooling   costs   and   actually   protect   the   roof   underneath   from   the   degrading   effects   of   the   elements, so much so that some urban planning organisations in the US have even received   tax   incentives   for   green   roof   installations   ­   A   true   sign   of   changing   times   in   garden   and  landscape design..

Landscape Design Fashions for Spring/Summer 2012