The Garden Media Group 2018 annual report is out, showcasing garden trends and styles for the coming year.  Turns out that our passion for all things nature and healing is in vogue in a big way – nature as the best medicine.

We’ve written often about the ways the gorgeous landscapes we create are designed give our clients the gardens and yards of their dreams. More importantly, we intentionally design landscapes to give the gift of nature, with all its incredible benefits, to our clients and their families, and are sought out for our knowledge and expertise in this specialty.

Top landscape trends for 2018 focus on mental wellness and a “cleaner, more relaxed state-of-mind”, according to the report.  In the landscapes we create, this includes foot paths and walkways bordered by trees, shrubs and flowers that draw you outside for a walk and literal breath of fresh, clean air.

Incorporating tranquility in the landscape through calming sounds, smells, and views will continue to be popular and oft-used by our design team.  We’ve long known that meandering streams, water fountains, and natural pools add incredible peace-of-mind-value to any outdoor ‘room’.

Zen gardens received a mention in the report this year.  Zen spaces appeal to all the senses by enhancing and enlightening one’s awareness of the energy in a space. Outdoor Craftsmen has been achieving this elevated state of being for clients for many years through great respect for the land and purposeful design elements.

Similar to the Zen gardens above, we are thrilled when clients request meditation gardens. Mindfulness encourages reflection – a tenet of our philosophy in everything we do, and so we aspire to include reflective qualities in our choices of plant materials, placement of objects (natural or sculptural), lines of sight, and attention to movement of air, water, and sounds.

One trend we’re particularly excited about using more in our designs are reflecting pools that contain calm, glass-like surfaces of water that gently flow into a hidden water recycling mechanism below. Reflecting pools can be situated in a secret garden room sequestered from any distraction, or out in the open to reflect the sky and clouds and imbue a feeling of expansion.

Meditation gardens need not be elaborately conjured and can quickly and easily be achieved by placing a small bench within sight of something inspiring (like a fabulous view), or wonderfully smelling (like a lilac or fragrant rosebush), or perhaps a comfortable outdoor chair in a sitting spot facing east to watch the sun come up before the hustle and bustle of the day.

One of our favorite meditation gardens is a simple boulder with natural curvature for sitting surrounded by large flowing ornamental grasses.  In this space one feels hidden and embraced yet completely open to the sky and treetops above.  The ebb and flow of the grasses provides a natural mantra as the wind weaves its way in and around the leaves and fronds, creating soft and subtle sound and movement.

When envisioning your landscape wants and needs for 2018, remember to make how you want to feel when using it top of your list. Your outdoor places should serve to make you healthy, centered, and mindful of nature’s many blessings.