8 Hot Landscaping Trends for 2017

Expect to see these design motifs and popular plants around your neighborhood.

Just like home interiors, landscape design evolves with our lifestyles and the times. Here’s a look at eight trends that will be shaping your lawn, garden, and outdoor spaces this year.

Estate style scales down

Who says you need to have rolling acres to deck out your landscape with soaring hedges and climbing vines? Compact and dwarf versions of popular estate-style plants make this look accessible to container gardeners and condo-dwellers.

Photo courtesy of NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

“Once upon a time, it was not unusual to see large properties defined by imposing stands of impressive shrubs and towering trees,” states a trend report from commercial nursery Monrovia. “As lot sizes shrink but the desire for this luxurious look grows, this classic estate style is being replicated for a smaller outdoor footprint, thanks to more scaled-down versions of beloved plants hitting the market in 2017.”

Gardens go glam

“After a decade of loading up on bulletproof, always-on Knock Out roses, succulents, and new varieties of hydrangeas with thicker, more heat-and-sun-tolerant leaves and flop-resistant stems, gardeners are adding glamorous plants to the mix, such as Itoh peonies and wisteria — even though they take work to maintain, have a short period of bloom and can be expensive,” notes the Monrovia report. “Even in places like California, where native plants and xeriscaping are buzzy, people are finding ways to slip in a few of these beauties, if only in a pot or two.”

Keiko (Adored) Itoh Peony. Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Hygge heads outside

The trendy Danish concept of creating an atmosphere of coziness is heading outdoors. People are using lighting to create dramatic or playful atmospheres, and tinkering with fountains to set their own soundscape.

“For those with small properties and neighbors nearby, they can create a pleasant noise that drowns out the neighbors’ activity,” explains Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Seating spaces, too, are looking cozier lately. Many prefer “a little place to curl up with a book,” Henriksen says — or a seating area for two, where conversations can take place.

Photo from ShutterStock

Hydrangeas rule

“If you look at flowers that are having an Instagram moment, you’d have to put hydrangeas right at the top of the list,” Monrovia’s blog reports. “Not only are they perfect for filling foundations and dressing up front yard picket fences, they make colorful low borders in front of tall garden beds and look just as pretty planted in a large pot.”

Seaside Serenade Cape Cod Hydrangea. Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Yards go greener

For years, yards were defined by their vibrant pops of color, but homeowners are moving away from that, says Henriksen. Today, layering a variety of plants in shades of green for visual impact is more in vogue.

Photo courtesy of Monrovia

“I think it’s a different way to enjoy landscaping, not to suggest that color isn’t so important,” she says. “Before, people may have really been drawn immediately to color.”

Now homeowners enjoy bringing different green plants together. “Some have heavy leaf structures, some are more delicate”— even the planting of fillers looks dramatic, Henriksen adds.

Gardens reach for the sky

“We’re really seeing people begin to take their landscapes up,” says Henriksen, noting the recent popularity of vertical gardens or green living walls. A natural conversation starter, they can work on any scale, indoors or out.

Photo from ShutterStock

Before putting up the walls, be sure to consider your irrigation options. And remember there’s no set rule for designing your wall: Plants can be homogenous or arranged in patterns, Henriksen says.

Natural is in

“Meadow-filled, slightly wilder gardens are losing popularity, as are landscapes dominated by hard textures, right angles, Cor-Ten steel edging, and sheared-to-a-knife-point formal garden borders and hedges,” states the Monrovia trend report. “In their place, use of natural elements such as rocks, boulders, and beautifully untouched hedges impose a more integrated sense of structure are on the rise.”

Photo courtesy of Willamette Landscape Services/Claremont Greens HOA

Sustainability is key

A beautiful yard isn’t just for homeowners’ enjoyment, but also the environment’s benefit. Flowers that are attractive to pollinators like birds and bees are becoming more popular, and landscape designers are encouraging homeowners to use native plants, which pollinators naturally seek.

Chocolate Chip Carpet Bugle. Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Smart irrigation systems, which shift homeowners away from a watering schedule to when plants really need it, are also on trend. “Smart systems can really take the guesswork out of whether it’s time to water,” says Henriksen.

Looking for more landscape design ideas? Check out Zillow Digs for inspiration.


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Oscar-Winner Jeff Bridges Sells His Montecito Mansion (at a Discount)

The actor and singer finally offloads his California estate ... for half the original asking price.

Photo: ShutterStock

The Dude abides — by this sale.

After listing the home two years ago, actor Jeff Bridges has finally sold his 5-bedroom, 5.5 bath house for just under $16 million.

Bridges — best known for his roles in “The Big Lebowski,” “Crazy Heart,” and “Hell or High Water” — bought the property in 1994 from “Footloose” musician Kenny Loggins. Bridges originally listed the property for $29.5 million in 2015.

The home resembles an Italian villa with ivy-covered walls, a terra-cotta roof, and a massive, hand-carved door. The property, dubbed Villa Santa Lucia, is set on 19 wooded acres, and offers views of the Pacific Ocean.

Photos by Jim Bartsch

The sunken living room boasts an antique stone fireplace and wood-beamed ceilings. Nearby chandeliers are adorned with Murano glass, and the master bedroom features its own intimate sitting area next to a fireplace.

There are musical artifacts — including a stash of guitars — throughout the home (Bridges won an Oscar for his role as a singer in “Crazy Heart,” and has released several albums). And, in case you’re looking for a place to stash that “nice marmot,” there’s a 770-square-foot guest cottage with skylight and galley kitchen.

French doors open from the living room to a terrace overlooking the ocean in the distance. The backyard’s turquoise pool features a small waterfall. For chillier nights, the patio also offers an outdoor fireplace.

The new owners will have a selection of A-list celebrities as neighbors, including Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and even Al Gore.

Susan Perkins of Sotheby’s International Realty carried the listing.



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Kylie Jenner’s Rent Is More Than Most Americans’ Annual Salary

The youngest member of the Kardashian clan is reportedly forking over $125,000 a month while her main residence is renovated.

It’s not hard to figure out where Kylie Jenner’s penchant for real estate comes from. She undoubtedly picked up a few tips from her mom, frequent home buyer Kris Jenner, who will be the executive producer on Scott Disick’s new home flipping show, “Royally Flipped.” But unlike with many of Kylie’s previous transactions, it doesn’t appear she’s looking for a profit this time.

Jenner is renting a Beverly Hills pad that’s on the market for a whopping $35 million. Set on four sprawling acres with a private golf course, a tennis court, and a vineyard, the home offers a lot for that price tag.

The luxurious 5-bed, 8-bath home is certainly Kardashian-worthy. Towering floor-to-ceiling windows draw attention to sweeping views of the ocean, mountains and city. But the best view is from the back of the curved home, where an upper-level balcony provides a breathtaking hilltop view of Los Angeles.

Photos from Zillow listing

Also tucked away in the 10,050-square-foot home: a comfy home movie theater, a 300-bottle climate-controlled wine cellar, and a library with its own bar. If you follow the spiral staircase up to the second story, you’ll find a master suite with a fireplace, a separate seating area, two walk-in closets and a gorgeous marble bathroom. French doors off the master bed also lead to a smaller private terrace.

Behind the house, a well-manicured backyard offers up a pool, an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace and multiple seating areas with their own fire pits. It would be hard to find a backyard more worthy of a hosting a dinner party.

The home is also listed for sale, so if someone scoops up this unbelievable property, Kylie might have to be on the lookout for another rental.


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Nature Lovers: 6 Towns for True Outdoorists

If you’re a nature lover, then you probably want to live somewhere where Mother Nature is knocking at your door. Of course, there is an allure to the high-rise skylines of big cities and all of the perks that come with them, but for some folks, it’s not the bright lights that entice them, but the endless opportunities that await them in the wild.

Many people have predetermined places where they’ve dreamed of living for their entire life, and then there are people who have absolutely no idea at all. If you find yourself in the latter of the two categories, then consider this list. Allow your imagination to run wild and really try to envision living in some of these spectacular outdoor-centric towns from all around the nation. These places are known to quench the insatiable thirst of all outdoorists who, above all else, crave proximity to Mother Nature, adventure and the peace that comes with living wild and free.

Move On Up in Billings, Mont.
Tell your kids to pick their new passion. It can be rock climbing, mountain biking or anything in between, because in Billings, Mont., you’ll have access to all of it. If you love steep inclines and summit vistas that stretch for miles, then Billings is the place for you. This town gives off a rather laid back vibe, but it won’t take long to realize what a strong sense of community it offers, as well. Many of the people who have lived in Billings their entire lives are ranchers and farmers—you know, the salt of the earth kind of folk—and they love their town and all it has to offer.

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If you plan on visiting Billings before you buy, we suggest bringing along some climbing gear or renting while you’re there, so you can get a little taste of adventure while you are getting a feel for the place.

Become One With the Last Frontier in Valdez, Alaska
Do you have a desire to spend your afternoons skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountaineering, fishing or even going on some extreme hunting trips? Enter Valdez.

This small town is home to 4,000 individuals and is one of the most important fishing and freight ports in the state, so you’ll always have fresh seafood. The best thing about Valdez is the winter—that is to say, if you like the winter. We’re talking snow, and lots of it. Valdez is rated the snowiest town in the U.S., even though their winters don’t get quite as cold as other similar climates in Alaska.

Be careful visiting Alaska, because there is a good chance you’ll never want to hop on a plane back down to the lower 48. Yet, if you do visit before you buy, there is one thing you should absolutely bring, especially if you’re visiting before the warmer weather rolls through. You’re going to need to bring a down jacket—I mean real down and real heavy.

A parka is a must and, if you’re a lady, we would actually suggest a down skirt. They are incredibly warm and an extremely popular fashion item up north.

Bend, Ore.: It’s Kind of a Big Deal


You’ll be pleasantly surprised when the winter months roll around. The weather cools off and snow falls, but that’s about all that will change. You’ll likely still want to spend every day outside snow camping, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, snowshoeing or just hiking through the enchanting wilderness.

If you plan to visit Bend, make sure you bring a camera. There is a reason Bend was rated one of the top 10 places to live by Men’s Journal. It’s truly gorgeous and there are endless outdoor activities available to the people living here. For your visit, you might want to bring a detailed map so you can circle all the super cool places you visit, from the parts of town you might like living in to all the hip breweries and restaurants you don’t want to forget about on your next visit.

Be a Beach Bum in Kauai, Hawaii

Somewhere along the line people forgot that lounging on the beach is actually an outdoorsy thing to do, even if you have a drink in your hand. On Kauai, you get all the delights of true island life without all the touristy backlash. You can really let your hair down and become one with this place. Learn to surf and I guarantee you’ll never want to leave.

If you plan a trip to visit Kauai to see if it’s the spot for you, then please heed this one bit of advice: bring practically nothing. Seriously, keep your carry on limited to the essentials. You’re going to be in your swimsuit the majority of the time, anyway. You’ll get the true experience of this place if you visit with a minimalist perspective and a decent pair of flip flops.

Duluth, Minn.: Not Just a Trading Co.
This little town has witnessed a rise in popularity over the years simply because it offers up a little bit of everything: canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, sailing, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and rock climbing, to name a few. The size of its community is small, but the sense of adventure looms large and you’ll never run out of stuff to do. During the summer months, there isn’t a single weekend where an event isn’t being hosted in town, pulling in thousands of tourists from across the nation.

Duluth is a true gateway to exploration and outdoorsy fun, especially because it sits on the edge of Lake Superior, so there are plenty of water sports to take advantage of. If you want to visit and feel out this buzzing little port town, be sure to book a hotel room and plan to visit when you can catch a free concert, touring show or theater performance during your stay.

Wow Factor of Wausau, Wis.
This little Wisconsin town has a few secrets up its sleeve that make it quite the interesting place to live. First, because there is a ski hill in town, you can enjoy delightful alpine skiing during the winter months. Second, you can spend your summer going on whitewater rafting trips. And thirdly, because the roots of this town are very much steeped in German and European culture, you have lots of beer to pick from, and most Wausau bakeries have warm, gooey Nutella-drizzled breakfast croissants at the ready on a daily basis.

If you want to plan your trip to Wausau and you’re a big fan of hunting, Wisconsin offers plenty of opportunities to hunt various types of game; if you plan your trip during the right time of year, you’ll get to hear the gobblers going off during your visit. I advise bringing along a turkey call so you can get some practice in before next year’s season!

It’s a big step to move your family, but it’s well worth it if you are surrounded by the scenery and activities you love. Sure, some of these towns are a little off the beaten path, but they serve as major gateways to vast outdoor opportunities. Plus, these tight-knit communities make for strong friendships, great schools, and happy dispositions, even if you have to start online shopping more. It’s worth it.

Casea Peterson is a freelance copywriter and content marketing specialist for businesses in the outdoor industry.

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