pergola patio minneapolis landscape design

It’s spring! Most of us are ready to get outdoors and embrace the change of season. We’re starting to think about spending time outside, and planning (or dreaming about) changes to our outdoor spaces. Many people are curious about what’s new in Minneapolis landscape design.

Here’s a quick round up of the Minneapolis landscape design trends we’re most excited about.

cor-ten retaining wall st. paul landscape

Cor-Ten Steel

Cor-Ten Steel, once seen as a trendy landscape material, now fills a need in landscape material selections. Its thin profile makes it the right material for certain applications where nothing else will work, and aesthetically it has an impact unlike anything else in the landscape. Cor-Ten (CORrosion resistance-TENsile strength) is a brand name for weathering steel.  Weathering steel is a group of steel alloys which form a rust-like surface after being exposed to weather for several years, thus eliminating the need for painting or powdercoating. The beauty of Cor-Ten is its versatility: it can be used for walls, bridges, built-ins, furniture, sculpture, water features, light fixtures…whatever your imagination can dream up. It has a long life span and is 100% recyclable. While its popularity qualifies it as a Minneapolis landscape design trend, this material is here to stay. 

“Front Perch”

People have rediscovered the benefits of city living, and migration back to urban areas is on the rise.  With this renewed interest in urban living, people are looking for ways to engage with their like-minded neighbors. The traditional front porch facilitated neighborly connections, but as times changed, porches fell out of fashion, particularly in suburban developments. Today both urban and suburban clients are looking for ways to recreate the welcoming appeal of the front porch. If building an actual front porch is not a viable option, the landscape itself can often accommodate the same goal.  More and more, we are designing and installing front yard patios, which can be as simple as a paved spot for two Adirondack chairs for sitting, watching neighborhood activities and waving to dog walkers and joggers. We call this the “Front Perch” and we think anything that reconnects us to eachother is a good thing.

front porch watering can

Your Home as Habitat

Hopefully we are all aware of current problems with flora and fauna populations. Bee colony collapse and the declining numbers of the Monarch butterfly are two of the highest profile cases. While these issues seem bigger than any one person, homeowners can actually make a difference. More clients are asking for ways to be bee- and butterfly- friendly. If you are undertaking a landscape project, there are simple ways to incorporate positive impacts for our endangered species. Some portion of your project will likely involve new plantings, and it is very easy to select even just a few plant species that will nurture habitat and food supplies without drastically changing your intended design aesthetic. Ask your landscape architect how to incorporate this nature-friendly Minneapolis landscape design trend into your next project.

pergola patio

Maximizing Smaller Spaces and Budgets

It doesn’t matter whether I’m designing a backyard in a small city lot or a large suburban expanse; the same design principles apply. Our clients want to create multi-functional, layered spaces that flex with their lives. Most are hoping to check off many items on their wish list without breaking the bank. This means a lot of landscape elements serve double-duty. A retaining wall can also become a bench. A firepit can be designed with a lid to become a cocktail table. Using container gardens instead of permanent plant beds allows you the flexibility to rearrange your greenery when you are having a larger party. Approaching your landscape this way not only creates smart design solutions, but can also help stretch your budget.

fireplace minneapolis landscape design trend

Fire Features

You can dramatically extend the use of your outdoor spaces in Minnesota by incorporating some element of fire in your landscape. Fire adds specific activity to your entertaining options, creates inviting ambience, and extends the use of your space later into the night. Whether an outdoor fireplace, a rustic camp fire or a flipping a switch for a gas-fueled flame, more clients are looking to incorporate fire into their residential experience. Sitting in front of a warm glow is no longer just for camping Up North!

landscape lighting low voltage

Landscape Lighting

Similar to fire, low-voltage landscape lighting can be used to extend the ambience and experience of your Minnesota landscape well past sunset in all four seasons. LED technology has improved low-voltage systems energy efficiency, reduced maintenance requirements, and opened up an array of new ways to incorporate light effects in your landscape. And I’ve never had a client regret installing landscape lighting….what may seem like a non-essential element of your landscape project actually maximizes your return on investment.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these Minneapolis landscape design trends. We look forward to incorporating many of them in our projects this year. If you’re looking for inspiration, many of these trends can be seen in our project portfolio. Enjoy planning – and dreaming of – your outdoor renovations. And happy spring!