Not to be outdone by the fashion world, in recent years, landscaping has started to develop yearly trends. We enjoy keeping up with these latest trends so we can advise our customer base of the best ideas that are not only popular but also lasting ways to add some proverbial glitter to your landscape.

2014 was a better year for most of us in the landscaping industry here in South Carolina. Many of the trade publications, local real estate agents, and industry supplier professionals all agree: 2014 was pretty good & it looks like 2015 is going to be even better. 2014 has set the stage for 2015 to be an exciting year for landscapers and homeowners.
Some trends for 2015 to consider or incorporate in your yard / home:
  1. "Real" is better than "faux"
  2. Outdoor living spaces
  3. Edible gardens
  4. Colors / year-round color make your yard "pop"
  5. Reclaimed materials are a must
  6. Sod / maintained lawns and landscaping helps homes sell

Real is better than faux

Most women would agree that they would rather a real 1/4 carat diamond than a fake 2 carat cubic zirconia. Extrapolate that, now, to the use of real sod or grass in place of artificial turf or grass, especially in the sporting world. Use the analogy to picture synthetic rubber mulch or organic wood mulch in a landscape bed or on a playground.  A few years ago, it looked like the man-made materials were going to give the mother nature natural materials a real run for their money. A few things worth mentioning revealed themselves to give mother nature the upper hand in 2014.
  • 1. An NBC Nightly News broadcast in October of 2014 highlighted concerns of University of Washington's Soccer Coach, Amy Griffin. The show stirred up attention and concern around the safety of tire "crumb rubber" that is commonly used in artificial surfaces in the US and around the world. Click here to view the broadcast.
  • 2. A Forbes article in 2014 written by Mike Ozanian blasted the high cost of the artificial turf when compared to natural grass or natural sod. His article states that "taxpayers have been getting hoodwinked by bogus analysis into thinking artificial turf fields are cheaper than natural grass." Click here to view the Forbes article.
  • 3. Rubber mulch may not be a safe choice for playground use. Said to have more of a "cushioning" quality than natural wood mulches used on playgrounds, rubber mulch seems to have been actively supported by the federal government. The EPA has retracted an earlier assurance that rubber mulch for playground use is safe. Click here to read an abstract from Environment and Human Health, Inc. about some potential chemicals being released from commercial rubber mulch. At the time of this blog post, this EHHI article has other informative links on its website.

If you are a decision-maker in the process of making some additions or changes to your home, business, city, or community's landscape, there are some "new" and alternative materials that are likely to get proposed. Just be sure to do your research before making a final decision. Or, you may be aware of an uninformed landscaping decision that has been made in previous years. Hey, we all make mistakes, but let's be smart and learn from them instead of ignoring them.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living spaces are great for 2015 sod and mulch.This modest fire pit is on-trend for 2015!
Taking the inside out is a continuing trend that saw its way through the entire year of 2014. It is a trend that is going to be around for a few years. It usually combines some sort of hardscape (decorative rock) mixed with some outdoor furniture, trimmed out with some beautiful sod. These types of outdoor spaces give landscapers a new offering to bring to the table when presenting services to homeowners. If a landscaper is designing a landscape for a new home in 2015 (and into the forsee-able future), it should have some sort of outdoor space designed with the plant material. Make sure you don't go overboard, though. A fully loaded outdoor kitchen may not be the best investment for your money. Keep it simple!

Edible Gardens

Whether in a container, raised bed, or short rows, growing your own food is very much en vogue for homeowners. Most southerners are used to having a vegetable garden, but as more and more northerners move down south (especially to the Myrtle Beach area of SC), they realize that the climate and soils in our area of coastal SC offer the perfect opportunity for those with a green thumb to get growing and eating. This trend gives rise to another one: container gardening.

Pops of Color

Now you know: there is a "Color of the Year."
Did you know that there is a such thing as a "color of the year"? Well, now you do. (Image at left photo cred goes to Pantone webpage) The Pantone Color of 2015 is "Marsala." This rich, earthy color is one that could be perfectly incorporated into your landscape (and home! and wardrobe!) in 2015. Pops of color can be introduced to your outdoor space using bulbs, painted fences, pavers of stepping stones, plants like the Lenten rose or flowering quince, etc., etc. If you use "marsala" or not, 2014 into 2015 is the time to add outside color.

Reclaimed Materials

Wood mulch is a great and beneficial way to add reclaimed material to your landscape and stay on trend. Gone are the days when everything needs to be brand shiny new. Old and vintage is in. Wood mulch is best when it has decomposed a little bit anyway. Check out old antique stores for items like reclaimed iron gates. Use an old sod pallet as a trellis for a climbing vine. Better than that, PAINT an old sod pallet in a bright color (like "marsala") (or try some of that nifty glow in the dark paint from Rustoleum), then use the pallet as a trellis for a climber.

Whatever you do, remember the "RE's" apply to your yard as well as your garbage: REcycling, REusing, and REclaiming materials can be just as exciting and certainly as unique as purchasing new the next time you want to give your outdoor space a little facelift.

Selling? Buying? Sod & Landscaping are Factors to Consider

SB Turf and SB Mulch know the value of landscaping.Value added: fence, sod, outdoor patio.
Those of us who are lucky enough to live in the Columbia SC area and East of Columbia towards the coast, are lucky enough! We have a great area here in the Pee Dee area of SC and the coastal areas of South Carolina -- even the southern coastal areas of NC are great living towns and cities. Once homeowners have decided to live in our area, there have been a few trends that we have noticed when it comes to real estate / homeownership and landscaping. The National Association of Home Builders has done some extensive studying in the way of surveying people about "What Home Buyers Really Want." If you could be looking to sell your home in the future or if you are looking to purchase a home, be aware of the role sod and landscaping plays in the value of a home.
  1. 1. Landscaping can increase the overall value of a home by 28%
  2. 2. Functional landscaping also seems to cut time a home stays on the market by around 12%
  3. 3. Exterior lighting, a patio, and a front porch are 3 outdoor features that seem most important to home buyers
  4. 4. No one wants to purchase a half-finished outdoor project when they purchase a property or home

Is your home in a great location, ready to sell at a great price point, but still not moving? You may have tried to "fluff" the interior a bit, but is the lawn knee-high with weeds? At a home showing, nothing says "don't buy me" louder than an unkempt lawn.... or worse yet.... no lawn at all! Consider finishing putting down sod all the way to the property lines. Add some pavers for a walkway from the side carport to the front door. Re-sod those bare places in the lawn where the dog went to the potty for 5 years. Create some interest by making a new flower bed by installing a 5'x5' area with mulch. Add some solar-powered lights to frame out that driveway. It could be money very well spent if it means selling your home. On the other hand, if you are a potential home buyer, use the fact of landscaping (or lack thereof) as a bargaining chip. Realtors know that landscaping adds functionality and resale value to a home. If one property you are looking at has all the right details, except for sod in the yard or except for a front porch, get the seller to knock 10 - 20 % off the home's asking price. Check out this short but thorough checklist from HomeGain for some outdoor improvements home buyers and sellers would benefit from looking over.

We are just entering the 2nd full week of January of 2015. Rest assured, we will stay on top of the local and national trends as they pertain to yards and landscaping, and keep you filled in. In the meantime, enjoy your yard!


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