Landscaping Trends That May Go Extinct

Like all fashion trends, landscaping styles come and go—something that can prove troublesome when it comes time to sell your home. Dealing with the master bath’s wallpaper (the one with a motivational saying whose stylish font had such a modern feel 15 years ago) may be an easy fix—but abandoning a formerly trendy rolling barn door room separator can involve a good deal of architectural reengineering.

One recent piece by commentator Lauren Wellbank, a freelance writer with a decade’s experience in the mortgage industry, pointed out some emerging trends in buyers’ preferences when it comes to outdoor spaces. In the same way that interior designers can glance at a listing’s photos and immediately pinpoint when the property’s signature style was last updated, landscaping styles also come and go. In the post-pandemic era, it is expected that some prospective buyers may be spending many more hours working from home. Properties that seem made to order for such post-pandemic lifestyles may earn new acclaim—and the opposite may hold, too.

Landscaping Ideas

Wellbank fears that four previously popular landscaping motifs might find themselves among the endangered:

  • Outdoor Spaces That are “Look Only.” There is a notable trend among younger property owners to shy away from yards that can’t be “relaxed in” or that can’t be utilized. Spaces that are landscaped with herb gardens are in; those dominated by the highly ornamental designs that were popular a few years back, less so.
  • Un-Green Greenery. The trend here is to climate-conscious landscaping—plantings that avoid the need for constant watering and maintenance. Although not universally true, there is also a noticeable shift away from flowering plants that require regular pruning, feeding, and/or spraying. Although author Wellbank doesn’t mention it, this point sounds like earlier decades’ similar fascination with “xeriscaping”—using native plants to minimize irrigation requirements.
  • Formal Gardens. Along the same theme, lower-maintenance gardens have the advantage over their high-maintenance alternatives. One Realtor® is quoted as saying that although people are spending more time at home, “that doesn’t mean we have more time on our hands” (you might add, ‘and knees’).
  • Yards Designed to Impress Others. This, as with the first observation, sees today’s buyers being more concerned with comfort and utility than with the former trend “of square hotel-style furniture…that felt like you were at a fancy nightclub.” Although garden furniture may not be part of a home’s offering, the overall ambiance is an important part of a property’s show-worthiness.

Taking advantage of emerging buyer preferences can sometimes be accomplished easily—but it’s first necessary to be aware of what they are. Call a professional when it’s time to chat about the latest market intelligence from the field!