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5 Top Fall Outdoor Design Trends

Looking to spruce up your yard for fall

High-tech fire features, fresh fall plantings and safety-focused outdoor lighting are among the gardening trends this fall.
Looking to spruce up your yard for fall? Here are five trends from the National Association of Landscaping Professionals to inspire your outdoor spaces.

1. Technologically advanced fire features

Fire features
A stunning fire feature from Designs by Sundown in Littleton, Colorado. Wouldn't you just love this in your backyard? Photo courtesy of the NALP.
“Sitting around a fire pit creates a different mood or environment than just talking indoors in a living room," Missy Henriksen, NALP vice president of public affairs, told Midwest Living. "It’s whimsical. It makes people want to linger.”

Fire pits and fireplaces are popular, but Missy also loves fire tables for their sleek design and easy automation. She suggests considering your yard and your entertaining goals. A larger group of people can sit and chat around a fire pit or fire table, whereas fireplaces are ideal for those who prefer more intimate gatherings. (See outdoor fireplace ideas from Midwest Living here.) 
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2. Contemporary twists on classic fall plantings

Sun Valley Landscaping of Omaha, Nebraska uses clean, modern lines in plant arrangements
Paul Fraynd of Sun Valley Landscaping mixes late-blooming summer plants and classic fall flowers in his landscape designs. Photo courtesy of the NALP
Fall is Paul Fraynd's favorite season for horticulture. The CEO and partner of Sun Valley Landscaping in Omaha, Nebraska says it's easier to enjoy the landscape when you're cool and comfortable. "Plus, it's a fleeting thing," Paul says. "You know snow is coming, so you appreciate fall foliage while it's there."

To make the most of the season, Paul recommends (and many of his clients request) a contemporary look with clean, modern edges. He likes to use a hedge of boxwood for a green background, then include pops of colors from fall classics like mums and hydrangeas, plus unexpected plants such as gingko trees. Paul's an especially big fan of Tor birchleaf spiraea. "In the spring, it has a nice, white flower, and it's really interesting to look at year-round because of the birch leaf shape," he says. "Then it gets beautiful fall colors."
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3. Increased focus on lighting up landscapes for safety.

Outdoor lighting in Omaha, Nebraska
Check out the warm glow created by McKay Landscape Lighting in Omaha, Nebraska; Photo courtesy of the NALP
With the sun setting earlier in autumn, evenings outdoors will mean more hours after dark than in summer. To make yards safe and welcoming, landscape professionals suggest thoughtful placement of lighting. LED lighting helps visitors navigate walkways, patios and more. (See our own ideas for outdoor lighting here.)
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4. Low-maintenance, natural-looking materials

A patio in Ohio
Get home from work. Pour a glass of wine. Sip it while sitting on this patio built by Grunder Landscaping Company in Miamisburg, Ohio. Sounds nice, right? Photo courtesy of the NALP
Marty Grunder, owner of Grunder Landscaping Company in Miamisburg, Ohio, has noticed an increased demand for hardscaping—the bones of a site, such as a patio or deck. "You can't take a vacation every week, but you can have that retreat in your own backyard," he says. (Hint: we have ideas for that retreat here.)

Marty says the most important things in the Midwest are making sure the base preparation is done correctly and that the materials used will stand up to harsh Midwest winters.
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5. Stunning interiorscapes

Green Wall by FosterPlants and the Raimondi Hotricultural Group, Inc.
Enjoy green space any time of the year with an interiorscape like this one, designed by FosterPlants and Raimondi Horticultural Group, Inc. Photo courtesy of the NALP
Fall scenery is great, but as winter cold approaches, you'll eventually need to move the party indoors. "As people have learned the joy of spending more time outside in their yards, they've wanted to have that indoors as well," says Henriksen.

So the NALP is expecting more people to try interiorscapes. Green walls and vertival gardens serve many purposes: they bring the outdoors in, they can be huge statement pieces and they don't take up too much space in smaller homes (or apartments). Plus, Henriksen notes that indoor plants can create a more peaceful environment and even relieve stress. Count us in.

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Lifestyle Magazine: 5 Top Fall Outdoor Design Trends
5 Top Fall Outdoor Design Trends
Looking to spruce up your yard for fall
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