2024 Trends in Sustainable Gardening and Outdoor Living - Tomlinson Bomberger

Transform Your Yard: 2024 Trends in Sustainable Gardening and Outdoor Living Spaces

Category: Landscaping, Landscape

The New Year is here, and January is the best time to brainstorm about what new things you want in your gardens, landscapes, and outdoor living spaces for entertaining and relaxing at home. Most of the gardening trends for 2024 focus on climate change, sustainability, and eco-friendly landscapes.

In this blog, you’ll learn about gardening and outdoor living trends with helpful landscaping tips to excite you about growing, designing, and building outdoor living spaces in the New Year.


Sustainable Gardening: The Heart of 2024’s Landscape

According to Garden Media’s 2024 Garden Trend Report, “Eco-Optimism,” 67% of Americans 18 to 23 years old suffer from eco-anxiety, a “chronic fear of suffering an environmental cataclysm.”

And the wild weather that central Pennsylvania has experienced in the last decade proves that we need to change how we think about our natural resources.

However, you can combat eco-anxiety with eco-optimism, where you take control of your backyard through sustainable gardening.

What is sustainable gardening?

FineGardening.com says sustainable gardening has no technical definition; instead, it’s a practice.

Learn more: How to Use Gardening for Self-Care

You can have a sustainable garden when you design it with the following:

  • Use native plants that have evolved to handle dry, hot summers, seasonal heavy rains, and other climatic factors affecting central PA.
  • Group plants together based on the micro-climate of your property and their watering needs, called hydrozoning.
  • Consider installing a rain garden, drip irrigation, dry creek beds, and other water-saving practices to conserve water.
  • Use bark mulch in landscaped areas and flowerbeds to regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, provide weed control, and add nutrition as it breaks down.
  • Design your gardens and landscaped areas with biodiversity in mind. You want pollinator-friendly plants, such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, and Joe Pye weed, to feed bees, butterflies, and birds. Consider adding a bird bath in your landscaped areas as well.
  • Plant a tree in your backyard and care for the mature ones in your landscape. When you plant deciduous trees on the southern and western sides of your home, the trees will cool your home in the summer and allow sunshine to pour in during the winter.

Native Plants: Beautify and Benefit Your Garden

A gardening expert once said gardeners must be flexible when using native plants.

You can use natives that grow in other parts of the U.S., benefiting the local ecosystem in Lancaster or Reading. You must avoid invasive or non-native plants that detract from our natural resources.

Here is a native perennial plant list that works well in central PA gardens:

  • Beardtongue
  • Bee balm
  • Black cohosh
  • Blue wild indigo
  • Butterfly weed
  • Columbine
  • Great blue lobelia
  • Indiangrass
  • Ironweed
  • Joe Pye weed
  • Little bluestem
  • Perennial phlox
  • Prairie drop seed
  • Switchgrass
  • White wood aster
  • Wild ginger.

Here is a list of Pennsylvania native shrubs and trees:


  • American pussy willow
  • American wisteria
  • Lowbush blueberries
  • Mountain laurel
  • New Jersey tea
  • Northern spicebush
  • Red twig dogwood
  • Smooth hydrangea
  • Summersweet
  • Virginia sweetspire
  • Winterberry
  • Witch alder.


  • Black tupelo
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern redbud
  • Eastern red cedar
  • Eastern white pine
  • Flowering dogwood
  • Fringetree
  • Green hawthorn
  • Red maple
  • River birch
  • Sourwood
  • Sugar maple
  • Swamp white oak
  • Sweetbay magnolia.

Crafting Outdoor Living Spaces for Comfort and Style

Complement your landscapes with outdoor living spaces so you can take the party outside during the summer with an outdoor kitchen or a patio with an outdoor firepit and seatwalls.

Read more: 7 Benefits of Adding Hardscape to Your Outdoor Space

Connect the different parts of your outdoor destination spaces with walkways. Spice up these walkways with a garden that meanders parallel to the paths your landscape designer creates for you.

If you have sloping on your property that causes erosion during heavy rains, invest in a retaining wall to hold back that soil. You can transform your retaining wall into an outdoor living space by adding a terraced garden, a semi-circle seat wall with a fire pit, or a second patio with Adirondack chairs.

If you want your outdoor living spaces to be an extension of your home, consider adding poolscapes, grill islands, or an outdoor living room with weather-resistant technology.

Include outdoor lighting so you can entertain late into the evening and provide a way for your guests to feel safe while moving from one area to another. Pergolas and pavilions offer cover from the hot sun and rain.

Essential Landscaping Tips for the Modern Homeowner

Suppose you want to take sustainable gardening up a notch. In that case, you can add more gardens, use less lawn, and adopt natural gardening methods, such as composting, rainwater harvesting, and organic gardening.

However, if you’re a busy homeowner, you probably don’t have time to invest in hard-hitting organic landscaping and gardening methods, and that’s okay.

Instead, you can be eco-optimistic using these ten landscaping tips:

  1. If your property has flooding or erosion because of a hill, ensure that you correct those areas with yard drainage or a retaining wall.
  2. Use less weed control in the garden by hand-pulling weeds.
  3. Invest in drip irrigation.
  4. Practice water conservation.
  5. Hire a landscape company to design and build a rain garden.
  6. Plant more trees.
  7. Invest in professional tree care if you have mature trees; take care of them by ensuring they’re selectively pruned, not tree-topped.
  8. Use native plants, including perennials, trees, and shrubs, to beautify your property.
  9. Install mulch to retain moisture, control weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  10. Incorporate edibles in your landscape and grow your food; you can’t get more local than your backyard.

Summing Up: Your 2024 Garden and Landscape Guide

Don’t get overwhelmed with eco-anxiety. Instead, take charge of what you can control—your yard, landscapes, and garden—with eco-optimism. Incorporate native plants and the above landscaping tips, and use sustainable gardening practices to create biodiversity, water conservation, and beauty.

Relax in these natural spaces by adding a patio, outdoor kitchen, a seat wall with a fire pit, and outdoor lighting, creating outdoor living spaces you can enjoy throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Ready to Transform Your Yard? Let’s Get Started

If you’re ready to change your central Pennsylvania landscape into a more sustainable one with added outdoor living spaces, you need us at Tomlinson and Bomberger.

Call now at 717-896-6023 or fill out our contact form to transform your yard today!



ArborDay.org, “How Trees Fight Climate Change at Home.

Extension.psu.edu, Pennsylvania Native Plants for the Perennial Garden.

FineGardening.com, What is Sustainable Gardening?

GardenDesign.com, 2024 Trends in Garden Design.

GardenMediaGroup.com, 2024 Garden Trends Report Eco-Optimism.

SKH.com, Pennsylvania Native Plants to Plant in Your Garden.