There's been a lot more interest in building green houses since we wrote about landscape trends in the Top 10 Features for Outdoor Living Spaces. So here's an update to help you plan your summer projects, or if you live in the south you probably spend more time outdoors during the winter months.
Most homeowners know curbside appeal is important when it comes to selling your house. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), homeowners also know “… that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values. They're interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly.”
Each year the ASLA surveys residential landscape architects about the estimated popularity of various elements you expect to see in your yard. The landscape features shared here are from the Survey Reveals Hottest Outdoor Design Trends for 2014.
Landscape Trends & Outdoor Living
We're definitely creatures of habit, so don't fret that you've got to start planning your backyard all over again. Outdoor living spaces aren't a new landscape trend. In the past we called them decks and patios, and they're still at the top of the list, with some added features.
- Lighting is at the top of the list (98.3% rating as popular or somewhat popular), probably because we're spending more time outdoors and consider the safety of family and guests important.
- Having seating/dining area (97.7%) follows right behind lighting but …
- Installed seating is gaining in popularity (89.6%). Built-in benches, seat walls, ledges, steps and even boulders are one of the new landscape trends, or you can stick with your outdoor furniture (84.1%) which can be costly or inexpensive.
- Fire pits and fireplaces follow with 95.4% of landscape architects saying homeowners want this before …
- Grills (94.3%) for the family barbeque. Rather surprising is the absence of outdoor kitchens from the list, although sinks and refrigerators are found towards the bottom.
Landscape Trends Involving Water
Water has it's appeal. While swimming pools (73.8%) and spas (76.4%) aren't popping up everywhere, decorative water elements (86.1%) are one of the new landscape trends, and often they're combined with a pool like the stream at the left, flowing into this pool.
Water elements range from ornamental ponds, to waterfalls and splash pools, grottos, water runnels (shown below) and bubbles.
Landscape Trends for the Green Home
We've talked about things use to decorate and enjoy our landscaping but what about the plantings? That's what is really exciting because more homeowners are searching for environmentally friendly elements, that are also easier to maintain.
- Low maintenance landscapes (95.4%) are a top priority, so you can spend more time enjoying your yard, versus taking care of all that vegetation.
- Native plants and especially those that are drought-tolerant (88.0%) are an exciting new landscape trend.
- Using water efficiently (84.5%) is another landscape trend when you still need water for your plants. More homeowners are opting for drip or other types of water-efficient irrigation. Other water saving features include:
- Water permeable paving (78.9%)
- Less lawn (72.6%) and
- Rainwater/draywater harvesting (60.6%).
Landscape Trends Include Structures Too
After the decks, patios and terraces that provide us with our outdoor living spaces, there are a few outdoor structures that top the list (rating of 80% or higher) of landscape trends. These include:
- Fencing and gates (88.5%), which can be used for any number of reasons. (Read: Fencing for Privacy, Safety and/ or Curb Appeal)
- Pergolas (82.3%) which I now understand as we've moved to Arizona, and there's a pergola in my backyard.
- Arbors (81.1%) which are nice for growing climbing plants, and they provide shade too.
Photo credits go to Jack Trembley, Landscape Architect.