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When Spring arrives, green thumbs beget itchy fingers, and before you know it, you’re kneeling in the yard planting perennials. This year, new trends invite a mix of beauty, whimsy and practicality, creating gardens that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the other senses.

1. Grow Your Own

This year, expect to see more home food gardens, with everything from fruits and vegetables to herbs showing up in traditional gardens and planted in pots. More homeowners have the desire to grow their own vegetables and cook with fresh herbs straight from the garden, says Better Homes and Gardens. “As long as people get enough sun to grow them, windowsill garden planters—full of rosemary, basil, and parsley—are popping up all over the country.” Seconds garden blog GardenRant: “Herbs are the next hot edibles.”

2. Water…More and Less

“The need to reduce water consumption is driving the demand for drought-tolerant plants, including succulents, ornamental grasses and natives,” says Garden Media in their 12th annual Garden Trends Report.

Yet the flipside is an emerging trend in the use of decorative water features to mitigate street noise, provide ornamental accents, or as a replacement for grassy lawns. “Most of the examples I’ve seen have had a rectangular or otherwise geometric-shaped pool, and the open surface of the water has the same effect as lawn in terms of providing ‘negative space,’ which allows the garden beds and other landscape features to pop,” said landscape expert Genevieve Schmidt of North Coast Gardening.

3. Color Story

Color trends for gardens tend to follow the Pantone forecast, just as in interior design. This year, that means flowers in bright pops of color including blue, yellow, pink, and green—including Pantone color of the year for 2013, emerald. According to Garden Media, “Bright metallics, like gold and silver, coupled with neutral browns and grays lend an upbeat, hip look in garden accessories.”

Flowers like blue panda not only introduce brightly hued cluster of blue flowers, but also an inviting fragrance. Blue panda “blooms in the spring, goes dormant with the onset of summer’s heat, and then returns in autumn to bloom once again,” according to Fine Gardening.

4. The Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet-smelling flowers are always a nice addition to a garden, but this year, “a fragrant garden is going from nice-to-have to must-have,” says Better Homes and Gardens.

A nod to old-fashioned blooms (another garden trend for 2013 that sees rising popularity in “plants like hydrangeas, lavender, Russian sage, moonflower, impatiens, and celosia”), dianthus offers “pink, white, or red, spicy fragrant flowers and their often-evergreen clumps or mats of gray-blue, grassy leaves…in both annual and perennials.”

Lilacs offers bunches of fragrant flowers that Sunset magazine calls the “essence of spring.” Even better, shrubs can cover a tremendous amount of space—up to eight feet tall and six feet wide—and thrive in “full sun, or light shade in the hottest climates.”

Which of these trends will you incorporate into your garden this year?

* Photo Courtesy: Flickr