Far from an old-fashioned pastime, gardening is becoming an increasingly important part of modern life. Landscaping is an important part of curb appeal, while local produce for your family can be grown in backyard beds, containers, or in rooftop gardens. Let’s take a look at the most popular gardening trends for the upcoming year.
Plant Fruits and Vegetables in Containers
As the economy leads more people to choose smaller homes — such as apartments, town homes, and condos — many gardeners find themselves short on garden space. Gardeners that can’t touch the lawn, however, may find they enjoy growing fruits and vegetables in containers. Large pots, window boxes, and raised beds all make useful containers for growing many of the same plants you’re used to having in a home garden.
Rooftop gardens are becoming all the rage with city dwellers who don’t have space in their apartment or on their balcony to grow fruits and vegetables, but still want tasty produce that doesn’t cost a fortune. Many bush variety vegetables and dwarf fruit plants can be grown in containers on roofs. If you have enough space, raised beds and vertical gardening become a reality and you can enjoy an entire flower or vegetable garden on your rooftop.
Seek Out Native Plants
As gardeners work to avoid wasting water and limit pesticide use, it’s becoming impractical to keep imported varieties. Instead, more gardeners are turning to native plants for landscaping. When you opt for a native variety, you can reduce the amount of pesticide used, as the plant is typically resistant to native pests. In addition, native plants are already accustomed to your climate, so they’ll need less watering.
Opt for Drought-Tolerant Plants
Gardeners who live in dry, arid areas but still love beautiful landscaping are seeking out drought-tolerant plants. This helps to reduce their water bill, and allows them to have a beautiful yard even when water usage limits are put into place. Consider a drought-resistant ground cover, instead of grass, or opt for a sandy yard interspersed with succulents and cacti for a unique look. Rock gardens with sparse plantings of drought-tolerant plant varieties are also beautiful.
Organic and Heirloom Gardening
Organic gardening is another hot trend that gardeners and marketers alike should be following. Increasing numbers of gardeners are opting for seeds that are heirloom, organic, or both. Organic seeds have met federal qualifications regarding pesticide and chemical use, while heirloom seeds have not been genetically altered. Heirloom seeds can be regrown and used from year to year, and there are many unique varieties of fruits and vegetables available.
Install Drip Irrigation
Gardeners who are concerned about water usage are opting to conserve water by installing drip tape. More efficient than soaker hoses or sprinkler systems, drip irrigation tape is placed at the roots of the plants in your garden, running in straight rows. You then pump water through the tape, allowing your plants to be watered directly at their roots with a carefully controlled amount of water. This type of irrigation dramatically reduces the water wasted while watering your garden.
In an effort to save money, many homeowners are opting to take care of their landscaping themselves. With some weekend effort and a few trips to the home and garden center, it really is easy to have a beautifully landscaped yard. While you may need to hire someone to dig garden beds or grade the land on your lot, you can likely handle most of the planting yourself, which will lead to huge cost savings.
Beneficial planting is catching on, as well. This garden trend consists of choosing plants that are both beautiful and useful, instead of planting only things that look nice. Gardeners are opting, for example, to plant flowering herbs instead of ornamental flowers, or multicolored greens that can be eaten instead of a ground cover.
Urban farming or homesteading is also increasing in popularity. This is the process of working to become more self-reliant, while still living in an urban area. Urban farmers may grow their own vegetables, make their own cleaners, can their own fruit, and keep honeybees, for example. While this trend involves a lot of work, its followers are also well prepared for a natural disaster or for difficult financial times.
Whether your goal is to have a beautiful garden even during a drought, or to save money so that your family is more financially stable, there’s sure to be a gardening trend in this list for you. The year 2013 is for gardeners to look ahead, learn new techniques, and work to grow a garden that’s green in more ways than one.