Landscaping is one of the most popular home improvement upgrades that homeowners indicate they want to focus on in 2019. Many say staycations are desirable, so they're creating outdoor rooms with cozy furniture, exterior kitchens, lighting to extend outdoor space usage into evening hours, and speaker systems so favorite tunes can be enjoyed outside.
Incorporating edible plants into landscapes are expected to continue to increase, including growing herbs in wall planters.
Asymmetrical landscape designs, which are more casual and looser, also were predicted to be popular for this year.
And, of course, for curb appeal, homeowners still believe landscaping is paramount for making positive first impressions.
Regardless of one's goals for landscaping projects, experts at Frisella Nursery can assist with options and decision-making. Because they are a Missouri family-owned business operating for 66 years, they truly understand what plants work with the state's various soil types and how Show-Me climate might affect landscaping in the future.
Frisella Nursery's Director of Landscape Operations, Tony Frisella Jr., assures they can combine and sync the best elements of soil, irrigation, land grades, plants and drainage tactics for each home's situation. He is a certified arborist.
Tony's father, also named Tony, is co-owner of the business. He grew up at the side of his father and Frisella Nursery founder, Frank Frisella. Tony Sr. still designs landscapes and enjoys sharing his time-tested tips with his team and customers.
Tony Jr. just returned from California, where he attended training sessions about new lighting options for landscaping. He says color outdoor lights are possible, but their strength is not quite practical yet.
"Color lights are coming but are about a year away," he says.
What is a hot, current trend is Wi-Fi-controlled irrigation systems, he says.
"There are huge improvements in irrigation, including controlling things from phones or giving online access to landscapers so they can better monitor conditions and provide quick troubleshooting pointers even when not at the locations," he adds.
Tony says some irrigation devices can even recalibrate themselves to changing weather patterns.
"One exciting feature is that some irrigation systems can memorize water usage through flow sensors for each zone of a yard. If someone's on vacation and the system realizes the water usage is way above that memorized level, the entire system can shut itself down based on it receiving that error. That feature could save people $2,000 on an unexpected water bill," he says.
Other technology being integrated into landscaping plans are cellphone-controlled pools; aerial photography; and apps for identifying insects, plant diseases and laser measuring. Some U.S. landscapers are deploying robotic snow removal machinery as well.
Another trend, Tony says, is homeowners wanting low-maintenance plants.
"Just remember, low-maintenance doesn't mean no maintenance," he warns.
There are trade-offs between naturalistic versus manicured lawns, he says, such as not growing full, tall hedges but rather promoting pollinator gardens.
"We've been getting more opportunities to educate homeowners that landscaping doesn't just equal getting plants and flowers. It can be planning for the next 20 years," he says.
Overgrown landscapes are a common challenge, and most people don't realize their landscapes are overgrown. He says overgrowth can happen in five years under certain conditions.
Currently, dwarf plants and rebloomers are the most desirable plants, he confides. Small roses, azaleas and hydrangeas are especially popular this year. Frisella's team members grow a large selection of plants and can serve as a full-service provider.
They offer detailed consultations, and interested customers can visit their workshops, open houses, talks, tastings and seminars to get firsthand ideas. They even have an on-site restaurant, Caffè Angelina, at which you can brainstorm landscape concepts over breakfast or lunch.
One quick way to green up a hardscape is to plant succulents in pots, so they then can be brought indoors to overwinter.
Tony says one landscaping trend that hasn't fully hit the Midwest yet is natural pools with no salt or chlorine. He explains that these chemical-free pools become creative, important home features, rather than just an entertainment spot. Many of them have built-in, closed-loop springs or waterfalls to complete a calming, relaxing appeal.
The Frisella team knows each site is unique and that homeowners engage with their landscapes in various ways. That's why they approach each landscaping client with a fresh, holistic perspective. They've even handled custom-cut stone archways into gardens, for example.
"Many of our clients are surprised about how much better their yards look when we're done, and it's very satisfying when they keep telling us it's looking better and better year after year," Tony says.
Frisella's experts say they truly enjoy connecting more people to nature. They come by that desire naturally because it's simply in their roots.