Even though it is still very early in the year, professionals across the landscape industry have focused in on what is trending and what will be in demand as the year unfolds. The top four concepts for 2018 all tend to have their roots in a more mindful and healthy view of outdoor living spaces and what they have to offer.

Embrace even the tiny green spaces

Not everyone has a huge yard or the budget for a huge landscape project. But 2018 is going to focus on making the most of any outdoor space that you do have, and on an affordable budget if need be. Turning your expansive suburban yard into an oasis might be a project which needs to evolve over a few years. But once you have your UNIQUE master plan, focus on one small section to begin your transformation. This might be a courtyard, a small patio or outdoor living space or just the portion of the yard which is nearest to your house. Take this area from a plan unusable space and create your own private retreat. Adding plants and other features will make this a space to enjoy even in spite of its limited size. The secret is to add features with dual functions, very much like you might have done when decorating your first tiny apartment. A fire pit set inside a larger masonry structure can provide warmth and ambiance in the winter but is also a great table for impromptu picnics or a glass of wine in the evening. Mounting a small water feature on a wall adds interest but also provides valuable gray noise if the area is sometimes over powered by street noise. The only necessity is that you complete your tiny space and begin your journey to enjoying and embracing the outdoor lifestyle in 2018.

Reinvent outdoor dining

There is nothing new about the concept of dining alfresco, but 2018 is going to introduce a new twist to this old favorite. In the past, outdoor dining spaces have been located right outside your home with the rational that closer is easier and better. But stop for a moment and think about the fun and excitement of going on a picnic. You pack everything in a basket and off you go to seek out a new environment. Why not create that same new excitement and variation in your own outdoor dining area? Be willing to trek a few more steps beyond the shadow of your back door to enjoy more nature and less technology and connection to your hurried lifestyle. It might even be considered a bonus if your WIFI doesn’t reach this new dining oasis. Picture the relaxation and even romantic feel of a space lit only by candles and not the porch light. Dare to move your outdoor cooking and dining space even just a few more feet into the great outdoors for a truly new and UNIQUE dining experience where you can always get a table and the company is always perfect.

Craftsmanship is the new gold standard

Many homeowners are finding that they have more disposable income this year, but they are also aware that this is an asset which should be valued. They are willing to spend some of that money but in return they are expecting something of quality and a product which will last a lifetime. Patio furniture and table top fire bowls from the big box store are not living up to these new expectations. Homeowners are looking to make an investment in their outdoor living space this year but only if the project is rife with quality and craftsmanship. UNIQUE water features, outdoor kitchens and spas are the features which will transform an outdoor living space while also providing the quality and workmanship which homeowners are focused on in 2018. Over a decade of design/build experience and thousands of satisfied customers speak to the quality and craftsmanship of every UNIQUE project. 2018 is definitely the year to invest in your UNIQUE outdoor living space.

Reconnecting with nature

Recent decades have found people to be very focused on oneself. We have strived to reach our personal goals, work goals and amass the wealth which we all believed would carry with it a sense of security. But as we have begun to step back and refocus on the bigger picture, we have discovered that there are many important factors beyond just ourselves and our personal space. 2018 is shaping up to be the year in which everyone acts on this epiphany in their own small way to reconnect with nature and revitalize the planet which we have so recklessly exploited. UNIQUE suburban and urban landscapes are being design with rejuvenation of wildlife and its habitat in mind. Plant selections are being made with careful consideration for seed and berry producing varieties. Homeowners are being encouraged to reduce or eliminate the use of chemical insecticides and fertilizers. And because we live in the desert, ecofriendly homeowners are electing to eliminate lawn areas in exchange for more native plants. This not only provides a more natural environment for wildlife but also saves precious water by reducing the need for supplemental watering.

2018 is still just a small bud and has yet to blossom and reveal its full potential. But experts all agree that this year represents a movement toward enjoying nature and contributing to its sustainability. Outdoor living provides a much needed opportunity to step back from technology and the state of constant motion and activity which exists in most of our lives. Quiet thought, reflection and relaxation are not the productivity thieves which some business gurus tout them to be. Let 2018 be the year in which you step back and regain focus on the aspects of your life which are truly the most important. Reconnect with your family and friends, take part in activities which make you happy and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle which is so attainable here in Phoenix. Begin planning today for your UNIQUE outdoor oasis, that place where you can disconnect and recharge physically, mentally and emotionally in 2018.