Gardening Trends 2021

Inside Outside-

               Blurring the lines of a home’s interior and exterior so that the flow and harmonize with each other is the highlight of this trend. Use rugs, large chairs and end tables to create outdoor living rooms. Think outdoor kitchens with sinks and counters in addition to the grill. Maybe even an outdoor shower…

Tiny Gardening-

               Even if you don’t have much space you can still have a garden. Trellises and planting walls help by using vertical space if horizontal square footage is limited. Vice Versa if you have a large amount of space breaking it down into rooms and smaller spaces can make it manageable and cozy. Use of pots and containers on hard surfaces if you don’t have a dirt space are also options.

Windowsill Gardening-

               In northern climates we can expand our growing season to herbs and other select edibles near sunny windows inside our homes. Be sure to check watering needs regularly and use an insecticidal spray if you spot pests.

Raised Beds-

               Ease of maintenance and control of soil health is a couple popular reasons for this trend. There is a myriad of options and materials available to fit your style and planting choices. Edible plants can be joined with flowers and herbs for a creative display.

Balcony (Deck) Gardening-

               Don’t have a yard? Don’t have time to spend in the yard? Want color and edibles right next to the house? Decks, patios and the like are a great place to have gardens. Dream up containers, pots and other unique ways to hold soil and plant away. Remember to keep it watered, especially when windy and hot. There is many options for irrigation systems or do it the old fashioned way with a watering can.

Cottage Gardening- 2021

               This old-fashion design has been around a long time and shows up in many Impressionistic period paintings. A somewhat disorganized appearance (due to many self seeding plants) can be too wild for many but also provides riots of color and a sense of freedom. Many times herbs and vegetables appear since the location of the garden might be near the back door and kitchen.

Permaculture Gardening- 2021

               Creating sustainable and resilient landscapes is the mantra of this trend. While many designs are meticulously laid out to use every possible drop of resource produced there are options in micro scale for the part time gardener. Plant guilds are any easy starting point.

White Gardens -2021

               Often called moon gardens this trend highlights a color (or lack of color!) that especially comes into its own at dusk. So many white flowering plants- hydrangeas, coneflowers, allyssum and cranesbills to name a few. Don’t forget the variegated foliage of dogwoods and hostas too.

Grey Gardens- 2021

               Think concrete, galvanized metal, gravel and patio pavers setting the tone for your garden space. While you will be hard pressed to find flowers in grey there is many foliage plants that fall into the grey spectrum.

Wild Gardens- 2021

               Grassy meadows, prairie wildflowers and savannahs come to mind with this trend. Be careful that wild doesn’t become messy and unruly. Matrix gardens are an organized version of ‘wild’ that gives a wonderful impressionistic approach to landscaping. Usually a higher percentage of grasses to flowers say 70/30 provides the best look.

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

RAIN GARDENS- Design and Installation


Sedge grasses are great for wet areas of the rain garden

Check with online resources or landscape professionals for guidance on size of garden needed as well as proper depth. They also can help you determine how the water will enter your garden through draintile surface run off or dry creek beds. Once you have those figured out and sketch a shape for your area the plant layout process can begin. Keep in mind light conditions of the garden throughout the day as well as bloom times so that the garden will have a long period of interest. Some people choose to go all native or pollinator plants, mixed shrubs and perennials or all grasses. There are many resource lists online to help narrow down plant choices. Most planting plans are divided into zones based on where the water will be the longest.

Popular Plant choices:

Grasses: Fox sedge, Blue Zinger sedge, Feather Reed Grass and Little Bluestem

Perennials: Blue Flag Iris, Coneflowers, Liatris and Lobelia

Shrubs: Red Twig Dogwood, Bush Honeysuckle and Spirea


Ok, now we’re ready to get out the shovels and do some digging! Draw out the outline of your planting space with spray paint or use a garden hose so you can move it around to get the shape just right. Also outline the area that will need to be the deepest part of your garden to hold the water. Decide if you are OK with herbicide to kill the grass and plan to do your spraying at least 3 days ahead of digging. If you would rather go a natural route strip the sod off and use elsewhere in yard or flip it over to create a small berm as designed in your new planting area. After surface material is removed continue to dig out the flat bottom bowl to the depth you need and size you’ve planned out.

Next bring in the compost material estimated to incorporate into the bottom of the bowl and use a garden fork to manually dig it in or employ a tiller for mechanical help. After the soil has all been raked out you are ready to place the plants using the design for proper placement. Or if you have a lot of small plants you may want to spread mulch first and then put in plants after to insure no plant gets buried in the mulching process.

Use root pruning techniques to prepare plants for proper root growth, dig your hole and plant! Mulch should be a good quality type that is fibrous and meshes well to get so as not to float and disturb the plants in a rain event. Plan for around 2” mulch depth.

As a final step thoroughly water each plant to settle it into the soil, removing air gaps and providing necessary moisture for needed root growth. Follow a landscape professional watering plan for ideal plant health and establishment.

Step back, take a look and enjoy your accomplishment. You are now benefitting the birds, bees, family, neighbors and most importantly the future of clean water.

3 month old planting

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

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RAIN GARDENS- nature’s rain-water filtering system

Rain Gardens accomplish many landscape goals and have gained popularity throughout cities in the US over the last few years. These gardens embody sustainability, resourcefulness, environmental positivity and when done right beautiful artistic expressions.

To put it simply, properly designed rain gardens are a flat bottom bowl shape to collect water in rain events and drain into the soil within a 24 hour time period. Designers go through a process to determine amount of water that will be collected, type of soil garden will be in and complementary design creation. Plant choices are also specifically designed for the location within the gardens. The main idea is to incorporate rain water back into the ground water system and replenish our aquafers instead of directing water into a storm water system that carry debris and chemicals with it. This system elevates flooding because rain water is designed to stay on site and not be carried off to some other holding area.

A few things that rain gardens are not: ponds or wetlands that would hold just enough water to breed mosquitos, weedy wild planting beds or high maintenance plantings that stick out like a sore thumb. A properly planned, planted and maintained site will be beneficial to all both aesthetically and environmentally. Contact us to help you out with coaching, design, installation or maintenance of your Clean Water Landscaping. Call Amy Voight 507-581-6886 email and checkout our social media platforms to inspire your own journey!

Downspout rain garden
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The Art and Wisdom of Japanese Gardens- karesansui

Dry Landscape Garden

This type of garden stone placement is modeled to look like the base of a mountain or hillside field. Where there are no water features present in nature or the maintenance of man-made water elements is not desirable this garden type can give you a similar look.

A wonderful example of this type of garden is located in Northfield MN on the campus of Carleton College to the east of Watson hall and up the hill from the tennis courts.

Jyo Ro En – The Garden of Quiet Listening – is a beautiful space that incorporates a mountain ‘stream’ cascading down to a wide ‘lake’ surrounded by lush vegetation carefully pruned to enhance the entire ‘picture’. The garden is viewed from the small pavilion and a path of stones directs you along the north edge of the garden.

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

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The Art and Wisdom of Japanese Gardens- STONES- simplified for the beginner

There are many guidelines within the Japanese Garden ideals for positioning, creating interpretation and energy transfer in alignment and design of rock layout. From the huge boulders that interpret mountain scenes to the tiny gravel that simulates the look of water we can create snapshots of the larger landscape views.

There are standing stones and lying stones which should be identified upon delivery of the stones so they can be placed appropriately. Some designers say that there should be more horizontal stones then vertical stones in your garden.

Other key notes highlighted in the book Infinite Spaces- The Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden include: Running away stones must have chasing stones, Leaning stones must have supporting stones, Upward looking stones there must be downward-looking stones, and Vertical stones must have horizontal stones.

Typically a principle stone is chosen and it dictates the arrangement of the other stones.

Once layout begins larger boulder types should be set securely in place with their bases deep in the ground. The best sides should be showing and if necessary lean a stone with an ugly top so that no one will notice it.

Flat type stones are also important for creating paths that lead us through the garden and cause reflection on the journey of life. A well designed path starts with the right foot stone and are placed appropriately for a leisurely walk through the space or a spaced close together for more of a ‘paved’ type surface.

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

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STRAWBALE GARDEN- a landscape designer perspective

Strawbale garden are a growing trend that has many positive aspects. The idea that you can grow vegetables anywhere- even on top of the driveway, has many people choosing to explore this option. A  couple of strawbales, few days of conditioning the bales, a good irrigation plan and a fertilizer application now and then can provide the fresh veggies you’ve been waiting for, with no digging required!


First choose a site that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day (most vegetables need that much). Your site doesn’t have to be on level ground but you may want to add some bracing if it will be on a slope. Once you’ve put out your bales drive in metal T-post to the ground on the ends and attach wire between the posts. This wire will aid tomatoes and other taller vegetables with support as they grow.

Conditioning is a necessary process to provide the compost dirt in the bale to give the plant roots something to grow into. Research the available methods to do this 10-12 day process to be sure you have a successful experience. Do Not Skip the conditioning process. Water, water,water.

Install your plants or spread some potting mix on top of a bale and plant your seeds. Your garden is ready to grow!


Keep bales well-watered throughout the conditioning process and through the summer. A strawbale above ground is a lot like a pot of flowers it can dry out quickly in windy, hot conditions. One of the best ways to provide moisture is to add irrigation. Soaker hoses can work well and drip irrigation can be the best option since it gives direct spot watering.

Be sure to apply fertilizer to your bales through-out the summer months. Since you’re not growing plants in the soil that has nutrients available, you will need to supplement with your favorite garden fertilizer.

There should be no need to weed, though occasionally a mushroom will appear or if your bale had some seeds in it, they may sprout.


Incorporate your strawbales into an existing mulch planting bed (if there is enough room between plants). Shrubs behind your bales can act as a good support and help disguise the less then desirable decay that happens by the end of the season.

Sow seeds of nasturtiums into the sides of your bales and they will drape down the side and cover the bale. Or plant a row of annuals in the ground in the front of your bale (if you set your bales on soil) to provide some color and more bale camouflage.

Place your bales in interesting lines with paths between to create a maze or create a raised planter for more planting space.

To learn more about strawbale gardening check out the book -Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten. If you’re not sure how to incorporate some strawbales into your landscape call us and set up an appointment with a designer to help you choice the right location. Email: or call 507-581-6886.

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Social Network Planting

 Our human social networks can complement our everyday lives by helping us achieve success, pushing us to go further, lifting us up in encouragement or just being a listening ear when we need to vent. Our chosen online platforms help us to mingle with others that have similar interests and invites them into our lives.

Plants do the same type of thing and harmony describes the plant world social network. When plants are thoughtfully chosen and planted, management becomes less stressful because the focus can be on the whole garden instead of individual plants. This concept of plant communities instead of individual elements creates sustainable gardens that use less water, are visually stimulating and require less maintenance overall once established.

The use of ‘green mulch’, which refers to groundcover plants, shades the soil and aids in preventing weeds and loss of water due to evaporation. Some of the great plants that fit the groundcover category are: low sedge grass such as Pensylvania Sedge, strawberries, self seeding columbines, woodland poppies and prairie dropseed grass.

Your garden can reflect your personality just like your profile and/or picture on your social network site does. Color choices, accent pieces, leaf shapes and more can all play a role in representing your creative self (or with the help of a landscape designer the creative you are deep down!).

“Garden plants evolved from diverse social networks.” Thomas Rainer, Landscape Architect

Plants have grown in their communities since the beginning of time and do many things in support of each other. Think of prairies and how grasses and wildflowers combine to create expanses of ‘groundcover’ in the heat of full sun and blowing wind. Prairies usually fade into woodland edges (often called savannahs) and different set of plants are present with the introduction of shade. Woodlands then rely on a high tree canopy that creates shade almost the entire day to the understory trees and shrubs, ferns, wildflowers and sedges at the forest floor. These inspirations in nature can be applied to our own urban plantings that surrounds our homes and businesses and through creative design and educated choices will be beautiful and sustainable.

As you think about your landscape and gardens this year find out how your current plants (or desired new ones) can benefit from giving them a ‘social network’ and implement the right community for the long term health of the environment. Also take time to sit and recharge, observe the ‘community’ in your own yard and learn from the interactions within nature that seem so simple yet can be highly complex but take place for the ultimate health of all its members. Create your landscape to give back!

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

SOCIAL NETWORK PLANTING-      by Amy Voight   Owner of A Team Landscaping Inc

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