Hot Trends in Landscaping in Columbus

Homeowners continue to be interested in creating backyards for comfort, fun, and relaxation. The area becomes a family gathering space or a place where they can enjoy wine by a fire with friends, says Jesse Van Walsen, sales and designer at Landscapes by Terra, Marysville, Ohio.

“Other areas they are interested in are pavilion space providing shade and shelter from the outdoor elements while still being outside,” he says. “More and more, we are seeing televisions installed in pavilion spaces with a comfy living room vibe with all-weather sofas and chairs.”

One recent new client, for example, knew they wanted a fire pit with seating and a shady covered area, but wanted help to decide whether to install a patio or deck.

It’s all about creating more usable spaces, Van Walsen says, and along with all the spaces come the plants, trees, shrubs, walkways, lighting, shade, and conveniences.

The Process of Landscape Design

Jesse Van Walsen
Jesse Van Walsen

Van Walsen says a consultation meeting to walk the property and discuss the client’s goals comes first. They share ideas and ask questions regarding budget, time frame for project and site conditions. Then, preliminary budget expectations and design fees required to proceed with the process get discussed.

Landscapes by Terra then does an analysis and inventory of the site. They include detailed measurements, elevation data, and soil samples, if necessary, for proper construction and design, he says.

Doing an inventory of existing elements and plant material, and identifying key plants for preservation or possible transplant comes next. Then Van Walsen develops the design by hand drafting or computer-aided design software, and then recommends the appropriate materials and plant selections.  Once you decide on materials, budgets and scheduling, construction begins.

Trends in Columbus

Van Walsen lists some of the hottest trends in landscaping in Columbus in these categories:

Entertaining areas

Entertainment area outdoors
Hardscape and a shaded area expand the entertainment area of this Columbus home.

Unilock’s EnduraColor Pavers have a refined surface that combines a base of coarser aggregates for a stronger foundation with concentrated color and wear-resistant finer aggregates on top, Van Walsen says. “This protects the surface from the appearance of fading over time because the top layer prevents large, lighter color aggregates from ever showing through.

These pavers don’t wear down over time or fade leaving them looking the same as when they were installed,” he says.

Shaded areas

Before building a pergola or pavilion covered patio structure, homeowners will need to find what building standards are in place. Columbus has a helpful “getting started” reference page for builders. You may also need to contact your homeowners association, if there is one. “These are the first places to begin to understand what needs to happen to build an outdoor space. After building standards are understood, the design can happen,” he adds.

The structure’s placement and alignment determine what type of structure works best. A pergola may work better on a north- or east-facing direction due to the transparency to the open sky. South and west-facing backyards should have a covered structure or pavilion due to the extensive sun exposure.


LED lighting seems to continue to trend, Van Walsen adds. “People like efficient components on their properties. Outdoor lighting trends continue to push through the use of cellular devices as well as tablets to control outdoor lighting transformers,” Van Walsen explains. LED lights’ microchips can create a spectrum of colors other than just “white” and “warm.” The new technology allows you to present your outdoor lighting display in any colors.

Water features

Outdoor pools continue to be a trend for outdoor spaces. Concrete decking is traditional. However, the trend continues to be paver alternatives and stone alternatives. They allow for nonslip surfaces to help with safety around the pool. Most of the paver and stone options available include denser qualities and can sustain themselves against chlorine and saltwater.

Trees and shrubs

Along with perennial flowers, low-maintenance trees and shrubs top the list of what homeowners want in their landscape plans. “We identify plant palettes that provide clients spring, summer, fall, and winter color at various times throughout each season,” he says.


Colorful flowers
Colorful flowers and varying heights add shifting focal points.

Flowers come in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors and add texture. Chosen carefully so they take turns blooming, they can provide a focal point that shifts throughout the warmer seasons. Colors trending in 2020 are classics blues such as hydrangeas, ajuga, bell flower, and St. John’s wort.

“In order to maintain a constant array of flowering pizzazz throughout spring to fall, we suggest changing out focal planters with annual flowers. Think one tall plant and three medium ones.”

Fill around the outer edge with a vine type hanging plant to create a beautiful planter with varying heights, color and texture, Van Walsen suggests.

All images courtesy of Heather Odenweller, Landscapes by Terra.

Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson, an experienced freelance writer and former award-winning newspaper reporter, writes for National Association of Realtors and many state Realtor magazines. She lives in Illinois with her high school sweetheart and loves cooking, swimming, traveling and spending time with her grandchildren.