Low-maintenance, check; water feature, check; native plants, check …


Water is still big, as long as you don't have to take care of it

We get a lot of gardening trend reports and I am sure many
of you do too. But one I'm likely to pay a bit more attention to comes from the
American Society of Landscape Architects—just as I look at the home design
reports from the American Institute of Architects. These reports are both based
on member surveys; the ASLA one includes a long list of percentages. There is a
lot of stuff that we've all heard before, but I found a few things interesting.

According to this, interest in native plants is higher than
interest in vegetable gardening, though both are high. This surprised me, as I
see the native plant movement—though certainly present—as proceeding in fits
and starts rather than continuously strong.

Firepits are still huge. I believe that, because I'm now
staying at a resort that has outdoor fires in every available location. They're
not wood-burning (gas, I think); if they were, the place would smell like a
forest fire. There's something I don't quite like about firepits, but I get
that the desire for them comes from the desire to be outside every possible
moment, which I totally understand. There are also some interesting smokeless
ways to have them.

Unsurprisingly, low-maintenance is the most popular term of
all, though it is somewhat contradicted by the garden features that are
expected to go along with it. In my view, if your garden has plants, it's just
not going to be that low-maintenance. But the fact that fountains and
ornamental features are considerably more popular than ponds makes sense.  They're a lot easier to take care of
and create the water sound with less work. I like a pond, though.

of Garden Center Magazine

Previous articleWhere the fields are
Next articlePrint-On-Demand is a Many-Splendored Thing
Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. I don’t get firepits. I think that living in an area prone to drought and brush fires might be to blame for that, but still… It seems like just another potential source of pollution.

    Maybe if I can cook in the firepit I could get on the bus for those.

  2. There are two basic categories designated for fire pits and fireplaces. Polluting and Non Polluting.
    If building a new fire burning appliance in California you can only legally ( indoor or outdoors) install a gas burning fire pit or fire place – no wood burning fireplaces allowed indoors or out.
    You can use your gas burning fireplace any day or night even when a ‘spare the air’ alert is in place.

    You can now inexpensively purchase portable propane gas fire pits and fireplaces, even Target, Walmart and Home Depot sells them.

    There is no reason to burn highly polluting wood for a heat source when there are non polluting inexpensive options available, and in some locations it is your only legal option.

  3. I do not like fire pits. A neighbor has caught the woods on fire three times burning on a call-the-fire-department level. It’s all woods here, very little lawn. Yes we have bans but there is no legal action I can take against them. They were indoors and had no clue the woods were on fire, it made me afraid to leave my house due to their being irresponsible.

    However the waterfall is stunning! I’m also very glad to hear of the native plant trend.

  4. Interesting that Native Plants are more popular than vegetable gardening. Like you, I don’t really see it. I blog on both topics and get way more comments on my vegetable gardening posts than anything related to native plants.

    Also, if you just look at the blogesphere, you would never know that natives are so popular. Yes, there are some out here blogging about natives, but there are WAY more people blogging about vegetable gardening.

  5. Native plant interest has been continuously expanding for the last few decades, roughly starting with just a few folks in the 1960’s-70’s.

    If the number of buyers at our plant sales are any indication, interest is still peaking!

    Now the Master Naturalist program has created brought in new people interested not just in wildflowers for their own properties (some on a grand scale of acres), but also interested in restoring more and more public properties to natural conditions.

    We are now managing parts of 4 city parks as prairie\woodland\ savanna\ marsh\sedge meadow… more than 200 acres (considering the almost total conversion of land to cornfields in the Midwest, that’s a major chunk of property for a single city:)

    The county, too, has large areas being managed or constructed as native lands, including a new 160 acre park to be entirely restored to prairie\savanna.

    Around here, the subject of “native plants” is a vibrant and ever-more popular subject!

    …and we DO grow vegetables and flowers too!

Comments are closed.