As I write this, it's a crisp and nose-hair freezing 2 degrees outside. It's dark. And I'd much rather be under a big blanket finishing season 6 of Parks & Recreation. (I know!! Can you believe I've never watched this final season!?) Old Man Winter has us in his boney fingered grip and he does not appear to be letting up anytime soon. I'm still madly in love with winter and, aside from a few unseasonable warm-ups, it has been a great winter for getting outside and playing in the snow.

 

Last weekend I found myself "puttering" around the garage, filling up the snowblower with gas and running the weed wacker just to remind him of his duties. This got my mind fast-forwarding to spring and some of the projects I have planned for the landscaping around the house. In general we don't have much of a "landscaping" design at the house. It's almost entirely functional and suits the house just fine. Being tucked away in the foothills allows for some "natural" looking property. For those who are not so remote, the trends coming down the road for 2019 might be a little more important. Let's take a peek.

 

My brother and sister-in-law built a pergola this past fall. Their backyard affords them simply gorgeous views of the Wasatch Mountain range in Sandy, Utah. This new sitting space has one of those handy fire-pits as well as a power line run from the house to incorporate some nice lighting for sitting and visiting with friends as well as something far more practical and useful, a blender for margaritas!

 

Much like a deck off of the kitchen or even a sunroom, this new space has already become an extension of the home. They have meals out there. They can extend the space in the house during parties with the area and in general, for not a very large investment, have built an addition onto their home that they don't have to heat. "Pergolas have matured over the years and now incorporate space heaters, roll-down windows and sound systems making them more useful for more of the year," notes Badger Realty agent, Norman Head. "For climates such as ours, where cooler nights prevail, the seasonal adjustments to these additions combined with their affordability and utility make them an easy choice," he continued.

 

Another of my favorite trends this coming season is going to be making the most of the space (and landscaping) that you have. This simply means not focusing on a single use for any given element in the design. We have a tiered retaining wall off the front of the house because the land simply drops quite sharply out the front door. The previous owners built a fire-pit below the bottom tier and the lower wall serves as seating for the fire. I've also seen neighbors incorporating trellis-based plants and flowers that double as a privacy fence. Landscaping for the sole purpose of beauty may still have some appeal, but the more savvy homeowners are taking this opportunity to allow the pieces to serve multiple purposes.

 

The trend towards smart homes has not been lost on the landscaping community either. One of the more intelligent uses of this technology is programmable irrigation and lighting systems. While working at the Owl's Nest golf course a dozen years ago, it was interesting to learn about irrigation and how timing, duration, time of day and various other factors directly impacted the health of the fairways and greens. The same is true of your own lawn and these systems are getting more and more sophisticated. My parents have a system on their property down in Florida that measures rainfall so it doesn't water the lawn if it is not needed. Simple and brilliant.

 

Pink is the new pink. It turns out pink is going to be a strong color trend in the coming year. This is not only for some of the accents you add to your landscaping but also the choice in plants and flowers. Roses, petunias, zinnias and hibiscus (yes, I had to look those up!) are all great choices to get this bright and fun color throughout your yard. And, much like everything, there's always the ability to play around in that color "zone". You don't have to simply focus on the pinks, but can venture out into the lighter blush tones as well and bring your flower gardens to life.

 

I know it seems a bit early to be thinking about landscaping, but planning ahead is a great idea and allows you to visualize warmer months and making good use of that blender! See you at the flower shop!

 

 

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