Ivy Street Design

Wendy Booth

Founder and president of Ivy Street Design in Denver, Colorado

When it comes to plant preferences and selection, Booth notes a conundrum that she hopes garden centers and landscape designers can work together to solve through education, signage and other avenues.

Interest in linear, highly controlled landscapes continues to grow, yet clients often don’t realize the resources required to sustain that modern aesthetic — or reconcile desires for tight rows of Calamagrostis with pollinator and wildlife habitat.

“Horticulturally, it’s such a mixed bag because everybody’s talking about pollinators and biodiversity and all these things which are super-important, but then they want a modern look and a tree that doesn’t drop anything,” she says. “There’s this conflicted role of wanting to be environmental but not wanting the consequences of a more biodiverse yard.”

Brandon Granger

President of Granger Landscapes in Florence, South Carolina

When it comes to plant selections, Granger’s clients want plants they’re familiar with through influential marketing efforts and consumer magazines. Encore azaleas are one popular example. “The things that people are aware of is what they want to see and are more likely to buy,” he says.

Matt Daly

Principal designer for Water & Earth Landscape Design, with offices in Los Angeles, Northern California’s Silicon Valley and Richmond, Virginia

The swing toward leaner, cleaner, modern looks reflects a shift away from diverse gardens with four-season blooms for Daly’s customers. “This more modern outlook on landscaping is using less variety of plant species,” he says. So, rather than 15 species, it might be five species or five cultivars of the same species. “Softer, more wispy plantings with grasses are a lot more popular because they’re lower maintenance, plus they can cover a lot more space,” he says.

Josh Kline

Owner of Kline Brothers Landscaping in Manahawkin, New Jersey

Over the last five years, Kline has an increasing emphasis on modern design. “Everything from hardscapes to plants is going for a more modern, contemporary look,” he says.

As part of that shift, Northeast consumers are seeking clean lines created with crisp hedge-like rows of grasses, hydrangeas or crepe myrtle. “Everything’s very linear now. That’s really changing the market. Everything five years ago was more free-form and more lush plantings,” he says.

Kline is also seeing interest in native plantings increase among people with ocean front and bay front homes. “They’re going more for the native indigenous plants to the area, like rugosa roses, beach plums and cedar trees. That’s something we’re definitely doing more in our coastal area,” he says.