Splendor in the Grass: Four Outdoor-Space Trends

California landscape designer Pamela Berstler shares four trends for innovative outdoor spaces.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe amount of water and maintenance required by native lawns is low, but the benefits in color, texture and fauna are high.
4. The Native Yard

Possibly the most profound design trend we’ve encountered across the country is a movement toward a more relaxed style of gardening that requires less water. As this trend has taken hold, promoted in large part by home improvement centers that offer more diverse plant materials, grass lawns are starting to go out of style. Whether it’s a recapturing of the front yard, in which a perennial bed takes over some space previously devoted to lawn, or the introduction of hardscape in the backyard for a dining room where grass used to struggle under a huge ash tree, the thirsty, resource-dependent turf lawn is being replaced.

Ten years ago when designers talked about using native plant material in gardens, the image that appeared in everyone’s head was a mangy, ugly garden. Now many natives have been tamed just enough to thrive in cultivated spaces, and using those plants in our garden benefits the entire neighborhood by using fewer resources to remain beautiful.