A Friendly Environment

Trends in Landscaping

Hey everyone, whirlpools are back! Squeeze yourself into a speedo and show off that savage tan!

Or not.

Though my imagination ran amok (Gold chains! Scented oils!) James Philbin quickly pointed out that these whirlpools aren’t the groovy plastic pits of the 70’s. They’re spas, often designed to match your patio, which is located near the lovely pergola and outdoor kitchen with sink, grilling station, fridge, bar area and kegerator. You can also throw in a fire pit to warm your tootsies after a bracing evening splash-fest.

James, of JL Philbin Landscaping, is listing off the latest in lawn-trends. Spoiler alert: lawn ornaments are not among them. So put back the blank-eyed cupid statue that will one day terrify a child and focus on - you guessed it - the environment.

According to James, the biggest trend is… living inside outside. Outdoor kitchens and living spaces. Creating gathering spaces for the family atop custom stone patios with cushioned furniture and easy access to snacks. Bonus: these spaces are impossible for deer and other wildlife to eat. Seriously. 90% of the effort in designing a beautiful landscape is taking care to avoid it becoming nourishing meals for unwanted vermin. Also, it needs to be low-maintenance because who has the time to fuss over a lawn given every other little thing in one’s life?

With that, and with the understanding that no human can safeguard nature against its own, here are some other trends:


Flowers are key, though your average neighbor isn’t going crazy with the hues. Yet. Whites and blues are popular, and pinks, reds, and yellowish are attracting a fan base. Ultimately, however, it’s all about the customer’s preferred palette. Hydrangeas and Knock-Out Roses are loved for their enduring blooms and ease in maintaining. Further, the large and plentiful hydrangea blossoms are terrific for cutting and vasing for indoor decor.

Peonies, my favorite, “have taken a back seat because the bloom time is so short.” Which is true. Still, the leaves look nice for a couple of months after the blossom is shot.

Dahlias, my second favorite behind parrot tulips (in case you’re buying me flowers) are a seasonal favorites for their long bloom time and gorgeous flower. Just remember to stake those leggy bad boys or they’ll list and droop like grandpa at a tequila tasting.

A new azalea, Bloomathon, also shows staying power for the very reason its name suggests.


Seeing as though you’ve planted such lovely flora you’re bound to have peepers. To screen out prying eyes a “fence” surrounding your property of Green Giant Arborvitae proves durable, deer-resistant and visually rewarding.


James explains that “Trees are a statement piece, they catch your eye first” and recommends investing in a few stand-out trunks.

Paperbark Maples have a beautiful, peeling bronze bark which offers “winter interest” once the leaves have ditched their branches.

James’s personal favorite is the Japanese Stewartia. It blooms a beautiful yellow and white during June and its camouflage bark is a unique and lovely stand-out.


Bluestone remains a staple for pavement and patios, although granite is a great alternative. For a sleek, modern look, consider Veneer stone in square and rectangular cuts.

After you’ve created your porches and patios, planted peonies and paperbarks, consider creating a pollinator strip to attract much-needed birds, bees, and butterflies. To learn more about how we can use our yards to battle climate change, read The Green Corridor in this magazine.

For more information, contact James at, (203) 923-2648.

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