Grace has five favorite fall plants that feel festive and add brilliance to your outdoor design scheme. She loves Boston Ivy to cover a home’s exterior in a blanket of crimson, while it brings a historic flair to your home in the spring and summer. These plans fare best in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8. She also likes bringing oak leaf hydrangeas in for fall, which features red leaves during the season and thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.
Another favorite fall plant is the Japanese maple tree, which thrives best in the colder environments of USDA Hardiness Zone’s 1-7, but they are possible to grow in zones 8-9 with a little extra care and planting in a shady location. Natchez crepe myrtles are an autumn favorite for bring in vibrancy to your landscape as, “the vivid orange and yellow fall leaves against the sculptural form of a multi-trunk crepe myrtle [is] perfection!” These beauties will be at their best in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9.
Tulip trees are a popular favorite for fall, as these large, shady trees offer a fiery display of yellow leaves and offers the best of both worlds in her coastal California town as they offer all the color with a short leaf-raking season. Also called Tulip poplars, these trees are best for those living in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.
“We’ll get busy again and will probably tend towards spending less time in our outdoor spaces, but I think we will continue to get pulled outdoors,” says Grace. “We really got grounded in the stress-reducing nature of our outdoor spaces, and we will continue to value and seek out time spent in our gardens and the outdoors for the shear feeling of of well-being it provides.”
The landscape architect says in light of this, people are craving simplicity and a sanctuary for connecting with the natural world. Many of the requests her firm is getting include quiet plant palettes, a soothing water feature that attracts wildlife, and high-habitat value plantings that attract pollinators. She also notes that we are far from over the emotional toll of the pandemic and many people are hungry to make their outdoor spaces more livable. Her clients also want help finding outdoor furniture that’s comparable to indoor pieces in design and comfort in order to make these spaces more inviting.
Raboine’s team processes plans from contractors across North America and says that as more people have seen their outdoor spaces as a destination for activities other than just hosting alfresco dinners, they are becoming daily retreats to work, play, meditate, unwind, eat and build relationships.
“People are thinking much more about using these spaces to impact their overall health, wellbeing, and add value to their lives, and that’s a radically different way than we are used to thinking,” says Raboine. “It used to just be, ‘how can I accommodate 20 people on a weekend afternoon out here.’ The features we’re seeing a lot of right now are yoga and meditation spaces, outdoor offices—spaces that are much more individual than just community based. Because of that it, the size of our usable outdoor space has increased significantly as we are doing so much more there.” This means people are doing more to integrate important aspects of their indoor living outside, and he says one of the top requests his team gets is improving outdoor lighting options to ensure families will be able to enjoy these spaces long after Daylight Savings hits.
“We’ve said for a while that we need to move the indoors out and it really has become like we are building houses for people outdoors with all these features,” says Raboine. There’s so much technology specifically designed for outdoor living now, with Bluetooth and WiFi. Outdoor kitchens, fire features, and pergolas are the top requests we are getting right now, and all of this is really an indicator that people are still looking to use their outdoor spaces year-round.”
What to Consider Before Creating a Fall Landscape Plan
Grace’s mantra is “dream, research, design, build, live,” which requires clients to get creative dream up their perfect outdoor space for their specific needs.
Raboine says now’s the time to schedule a fall landscaping plan with a trusted expert or on your own, as labor is in such high-demand right now. He advises coming in with a clear understanding of your vision for your landscape and outdoor spaces, being clear on the size and scale of your project, along with the colors and textures you’re looking for to streamline the process.
“The top of the list is always asking yourself the question: how do you see yourself or your family using this space?” says Grace. “How do you want to feel in the proposed space? Think through the resources, time, and budget you’re willing to commit to the project. As always, with any project, the steps for creating a new space are: dream, research, design, build, and live.”