Landscaping Trends for 2018: Matt Leacy

As a new year draws closer, founder and creative director of Landart Landscapes, Matt Leacy, shares his landscape design trend forecasts for 2018.

What’s in? Texture, fire-pits, outdoor rooms, strip lighting, succulents, cactuses, cloud and sphere pruned plants.

What’s out? Metal imitating timber.

The return of texture

“Texture in flooring is definitely coming back into vogue – and I see this becoming more popular in 2018,” says Matt.

“For a while now, we’ve been in a bit of a minimalist period. And while I think that many consumers will continue to choose minimalist flooring – plenty of others will head to the other end of the spectrum and go very textural.

“We expect to see different stones being used for flagging and cobbles to break up large areas. There are lots of exciting new stones on the market including different variations on porphyry, limestone and granite.

“Their finishes, shapes and sizes are also changing” adds Matt.

“Cobblestones will be used in interesting ways, mixing linear lines with rounded shapes and the like.

“We’ll also see consumers continue to shift away from large format clean line finishes towards textured smaller tiles”

“Timber will also be popular in 2018 and remain a turn-to,” says Matt. “It can fit into any design aesthetic and can be left to weather and silver or kept vibrant and fresh depending on taste and available time for maintenance.”

“Ultimately, I think we’ll see less consumers falling in the middle when it comes to flooring; they’ll either go minimalist or textured.”

“We’ll also start to see more raw and finished concrete being used both in and out of the pool, on seating, BBQs and general flooring” says Matt.

Fire pits becoming the norm

“Over the past year, we’ve really seen consumer demand for fire pits reach an all-time high,” says Matt.

“Traditionally, fire pits weren’t used by that many people; however, they’re increasingly being seen by homeowners as an essential – and an expectation.

“I think 2018 will see fire-pits reach their peak popularity as more and more people recognise them as the norm and also realise the range on the market at different price points.

“You’ve got built-in fire-pits which can also function as coffee-tables or you’ve got more basic iron and steel bowls.”

“We’ll especially see uptake in at the beginning of autumn as the cooler months begin to set in,” predicts Matt.

I also think fire pits will be a trend that sticks around; they can be super stylish and multifunctional – and they’re a great way to generate outdoor heat, light and ambience, whilst saving on electricity. They basically keep you out in the garden chatting with friends and family instead of retreating indoors

“Obviously, you’ve just got to be wary of weather conditions and any fire bans that might be in place when you’re using them.”

The continued rise of outdoor rooms

“The whole idea of creating outdoor rooms that mirror the functionality of traditional indoor spaces will continue to pick up steam in 2018,” says Matt.

“Outdoor kitchens, daybeds, outdoor showers, sunken lounges, comfy outdoor furniture – they’ve all become an expectation rather than a luxury in many of the markets we’re working in.”

“As more and more consumers see outdoor rooms on the market, they will likely become the perceived norm and the real estate market will have to respond to meet buyer demand,” says Matt.

“We’ll likely see more vendors installing outdoor room elements pre-sale to maximise sale price and also property developers installing them at the build stage.”

Strip lighting

“Strip lighting under steps, seats and bench tops creates an amazing feel and is becoming increasingly popular,” says Matt.

“This will become even trendier in 2018 as a compliment to outdoor room elements.”

Planting varieties

“Interesting succulents and cactus plants will continue to be really popular both indoors and outdoors,” says Matt. “The architectural structure they can provide to any garden is impressive.”

“Some of the larger varieties like Agave Americana and blue cactus are becoming really difficult to find in nurseries, so getting the signature piece for the garden can be a challenge.

“As such, if you’re planning to renovate or sell in 2018, it will be smart to plan the garden really early on so that you can grow or take the time to find what you need.

“I think we’ll also see some old classics featured more in 2018,” adds Matt.

“Cloud and sphere pruned plants are a favourite of mine. They have been around for centuries, and we have been using them for many years and can see them growing in popularity. They go well in most styles of gardens we do.”

Say goodbye to

“What we should say goodbye to in 2018 is metal imitating timber,” says Matt.

“The main offenders are front boundary fences where metal slats or pickets are used.

“Metal is metal and timber is timber; it never works when you try to pass one off as the other.”

About the Author

Co-founder of the award-winning Willoughby-based Landart Landscapes, Matt Leacy has more than 20 years’ experience in design, construction and maintenance services across landscaping and pool installation for both residential and commercial properties. Matt is a qualified structural landscaper, designer, horticulturalist and current board member – and former president – of the LNA Master Landscapers Association. Matt has also worked with City of Sydney in recent years, spearheading their Living Colour installations to bring life and colour to inner-city streets. Matt is a regular media commentator and column writer and also co-hosted Channel Nine’s Garden Gurus and three seasons of Domestic Blitz, as well as recently featuring in ABC TV’s Dream Gardens. A selection of Matt’s work can be found at www.landart.com.au

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