The Top 6 Landscape Design Trends for 2016

Lux lighting and edible arrangements are on the rise this year, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ list of the top landscape design trends for 2016, a gathering of data based on current consumer demands and lifestyle trends, as well as broader horticultural, architectural and design factors.

“The latest trends reflect the desire to bring the indoors out — to create comfortable landscapes that are both functional and beautiful,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “At the same time, we’re seeing a shift toward sustainable landscapes that reflect a renewed sense of mindfulness for the Earth and its ecosystems.”

Specifically, NALP anticipates increased consumer interest in and adoption of the following six trends:

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  • Fully customized outdoor living spaces. As more and more homeowners entertain outdoors and make the most of time spent outside, landscapes have become extensions of interior spaces, complete with furniture and appliances. Beyond basic decks and patios, more landscapes this year will be transformed into full-service kitchens with brick ovens and grills, comfortable living and dining rooms featuring fireplaces and firepits, and romantic canopy bedrooms. Themed spaces, such as yoga gardens or bocce fields, further personalize outdoor retreats to fit homeowners’ interests.
  • Lighted and high-tech landscapes. A natural extension of the outdoor-lighting-2outdoor living trend is equipping these landscapes with creative and functional lighting and technological enhancements. Dramatic and boldly colored lights, twinkling accent lighting in walkways, backyard Wi-Fi and TV installations are just some of the ways gardens are getting tech-savvy in 2016.
  • Eco-friendly and native gardens. “Naturescaping” — selecting and growing native plants to attract birds, insects and wildlife — is one method landscapers will continue to employ in 2016 to appeal to an increased interest in developing environmentally conscious landscapes. Busy homeowners seek simply beautiful landscapes that are easy to maintain, and naturescaping encourages the use of low-maintenance perennial native plants and innately manages water runoff. The installation of solar-powered lighting or energy-efficient LED lights is another way landscapes will go green this year.
  • Edible landscapes. The demand for low-maintenance options has made container gardens, which often do not require extensive care, grow in popularity. When combined with a preference for the natural and organic, a new trend emerges: edible landscapes. Fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables add texture and color variety to landscapes, while providing a fresh supply of delicious ingredients. Not limited to individual home gardens, edible landscapes will be planned and planted by landscape developers in neighborhoods and community residences in 2016.
  • Freshwater features. The techniques used to manage storm water will not be hidden in 2016. Rain barrels, rain gardens and stone retaining walls add stunning dimension to lush landscapes, while serving an important purpose of collecting, cleaning or stopping water. In fact, water and other non-plant features, including sculptures or pottery, are becoming focal points in landscapes.
  • Soothing hues. For the first time, Pantone, the authority on color and provider of color systems and technology for color communication, has announced the blending of two colors — Rose Quartz and Serenity — as its Pantone Color of the Year for 2016. Expect these soft, nature-inspired pink and blue hues to bloom in gardens this year as heritage rose bushes, Catherine Woodbury daylilies, Angelique tulips, blue lace delphinium, French hydrangea and others.download

For more information, visit LoveYourLandscape.com.

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Is Your Home Going To The Dogs (Or Cats)?

cat-and-dog-ftrWe’re going to the dogs in this next installment with ideas to make your residence as attractive as possible to potential buyers looking for their new dream home in 2016.

It seems like in recent months, pet-friendly amenities have captured the blue ribbon for getting your home sold (or property leased) at Greyhound speed! Our friends at the Urban Land Institute say this trend took off as real estate recovered from the Great Recession.

Back in August 2014, Jeffrey Spivak reported that developers and market observers seeing a new wave of multifamily projects started to cater to populist lifestyles offering more social and communal amenities like craft rooms, gardens, and pet spaces.

In a more recent San Antonio blog, Micah Harper noted that in 2013, Americans spent $55 billion on their “fur kids,” and the American Pet Products Association  says 65 percent of Americans now own pets. For the same period, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports 5,090,429 new and existing homes being sold.

The number of pet-owning Americans and the number of home buying Americans likely overlap quite a bit, Harper observed, adding that basic catteries and dog runs are two more common pet amenities trending as of late.

Around the same time, Washington Post writer Camilla McLaughlin reported how Standard Pacific offered pet rooms as an option at a new community in Brea, Calif.. McLaughlin says prospective buyers and their pets lined up for the grand opening – and since then, Standard Pacific has expanded such rooms and other pet amenities to all 27 of its communities.

In the Big Apple, dogster.com blogger Whitney C. Harris says Chelsea’s Abington House launched its own Dog City, a full-service daycare and spa amenity created by Related Companies in partnership with canine expert Leya Ogihara.This is intended to serve a whopping one-third of building residents, all who are dog owners, according to Harris. In Chicago, Harris says the trendy 500 Lake Shore Drive has its own Dog City, and she even found Blue Apartments in Minneapolis, which provides amenities like outdoor areas and dog-washing stations.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

So, what could you do to make your home more attractive to dog owners?

  • 1Make sure your fenced yard is in tact.  Does the gate lock securely?  Are the boards in good shape?  Are there spaces where  a smaller dog could easily slip under the fence?
  •  Do you have a mud room that could be a safe ” doggie room” traditional-laundry-roomduring the day? Point it out by “staging” it with a pretty dog bed, or doggie toys,  or a cute cat tree.

 

  • Include maps to local dog parks, or talk about walking the dog in your neighborhood in an informational letter.dog-park

 

  • Provide a list of your preferred vets, and groomers.
  • Provide a list of your favorite dog or cat hotels or day cares.

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By showing buyers that you care about their animals you are standing out to the buyers that are really concerned about finding a home for their “furry kids”!

 

 

 

Q: What Should I Know about Mechanics Liens?

A:  A mechanic’s lien is a “hold” against your property that provides contracdeed-transfer-paperworktors and suppliers legal recourse to assure payment for services.  The liens vary from state to state and allow for a cloud on the title of your property and foreclosure action.  Also, if you paid the contractor, but he failed to pay the subcontractors and laborers – who do not have a contract with you – then the workers may file a mechanic’s lien on your home.  This could result in a double payment by you for the same job.  You can protect yourself from unwarranted liens by selecting your contractor carefully and managing your construction project responsibly.  Also, most construction lenders will specify a payment distribution process that involves the securing of lien waivers.  The remodeling contract should address this as well, assuring that the general contractor is responsible for all payments as well as any costs required to remedy lien disputes that may arise.  

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.