10 Clever Landscaping Ideas and Gardening Trends

Check out cool new ideas seen at the 2016 GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators Conference. 

I recently had the pleasure of attending the GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In attendance were some of the top horticulturists, master gardeners and nature photographers in the U.S. and Canada. The educational sessions, round-table discussions and the wine and cheese mixers were all very interesting, but by far the best part was the private garden tours.  

A few Atlanta area homeowners with some high-end homes and beautifully curated landscapes let the conference attendees tromp through their backyards. These homeowners are passionate gardeners who obviously spent countless hours and clearly hired some of the best pros in the business to design and maintain their amazing gardens. The conference attendees (again, most all expert gardeners) went gaga for these well-coiffed yards. Here's a look at the things these experts were photographing and talking about, and a few of my favorites too. 

1. The Knot Garden

This yard may look like it is part of a grand estate, but it was just an average-sized suburban yard. The matching pair of Celtic knots are made of variegated hedges that were trained to intertwine each other. To up the high-class factor, regal garden statues watch over the linking privets. 

2. Moss Tablecloth

Some gardeners may not like having too much shade, others embrace it and turn it into whimsical beauty. This garden under a heavy canopy included a dining table with a live moss-covered tabletop. 

3. Fairy Gardens

Teeny-tiny homes were common in a lot of these lush gardens. This little fairy homestead is housed in an old wheelbarrow surrounded by lots of hostas. Notice the tiny birdhouse gourds to the left of the house. 

4. Birdhouse With an Eagle Eye

A dual-purpose security camera and birdhouse keeps the homeowners as well as the wildlife safe and sound. 

5. Succulent Birdbaths

Shallow birdbaths make great containers for succulents. Vary the height of the plantings and add a few rocks and some gravel to help drainage and add interest. 

6. Dragon Topiary

Add a little dimension to your yard with a moss-covered sea creature. This little Nessie lives deep in the shade so her coat of moss stays plush all year long. 

7. Kniffen Trellis

Typically used for grapes, a six- or four-arm kniffen trellis can keep ornamental trees in check, and looking spectacular too. 

8. Outdoor Fireplaces

Fire pits and fireplaces are a great backyard addition. This one is ultra-cool with its factory-cart table, succulent planters and rusted-metal trophy head hanging on the chimney. 

9. A Variety of Birdhouses

Birdhouses are art with a purpose. Use them to attract beneficial wildlife to your yard and add a charming touch of whimsy. 

10. Embracing the Dead

Instead of tearing out a dead tree, use it as piece of art to hold birdhouses and terracotta planters. A fairy garden at the base of the tree allows little gnomes and fairies to come and go freely. 

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