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Landscaping:the new home decor frontier

In the era of the designer kitchen and the spa bath, the garden is the new frontier in home decorating. CNBC's Bertha Coombs has the dirt on the latest in landscaping trends.
/ Source: CNBC

If your idea of landscaping is some geraniums on the back porch and maybe a pink flamingo or a gnome on the front lawn, there's nothing wrong with that. But in the era of the designer kitchen and the spa bath, the garden is the new frontier in home decorating.

The timeless beauty of flowers never goes out of style. In gardens this summer, award-winning landscaper Matt Horn says strong color and exotic plants are the big story.

“There's new and better varieties,” he said. “Just like in your home, there's new and better TVs, there's new and better cameras.  Everyone wants the next step up.”

The biggest 'step up' in landscaping right now is using 'water, water, everywhere' — from suburban patios to city rooftop decks.

I think that people are mesmerized with water,” said House & Garden gardening editor Charlotte Frieze. “Water is very soothing.”

Small garden fountains start at around $2,500. Frieze says for that you not only get a beautiful feature, but practical function.

“If you live in a neighborhood with lots of noise, you can have a fountain and raise and lower the action on it to block out the sound of noise,” she said.

For the ultimate in water gardens, stock your fountain or build a pond with colorful Japanese Koi fish and exotic water lilies. But get ready to dig deep: Koi will set you back from $100 to $1000 a piece. And they need a lot of room, so you need a big pond which average $10,000 to $50,000.

“I've seen a Koi pond that was just like a Monet water lily painting,” said Horn. “And with the price of Koi these days, the Koi pond probably cost as much as a Monet painting.”

Fountains, Koi ponds — those are all very impressive. But if you really want to make a statement this summer, try something old, like your own Gothic ruin.

“The one house that we're doing now,” said Horn, “we're building an outdoor fireplace, where they're going to be able to sit in here, on a beautiful patio, with plants growing all around them.”

They call those trendy ruins "follies" in England, where they're made.  Starting at $10,000, folly seems like just the right term when you're talking garden chic.