Native plants, yoga spaces and charging stations are trending for backyards

May 1, 2018

It’s not back to basic for residential landscapers this year. Instead, homeowners want to do downward-facing dogs in their sustainably designed backyards—while their phones are charging nearby. That is one of the conclusions of the 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, conducted among 808 professionals by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and released early in April.

For the first time this year, ASLA revised the survey this year to include new types of outdoor amenities . Because of this change, flexible outdoor spaces for such activities as yoga and outdoor movie nights, as well as charging stations for mobile devices, entered the top ten project types for the first time.

Among the landscaping projects with the largest consumer demand are the following:

  • Native plants (83.3%);
  • Native/adapted drought tolerant plants (83.0%);
  • Low-maintenance landscapes (80.0%);
  • Flexible use space for yoga classes, movie nights and more (74.2%);
  • Permeable paving (74.0%);
  • Drip/water-efficient irrigation (72.4%);
  • Rain gardens (71.2%);
  • Reduced lawn area (70.8%);
  • Food/vegetable gardens (70.5%); and
  • Charging stations for mobile devices (70.0%).

This lineup is virtually unchanged from 2017 except for the additions of flexible-use space and charging stations, the researchers said.

The top three most popular outdoor design elements this year include fire pits/ fireplaces (66.0%t), lighting (65.4%) and seating/dining areas (64.0%). Last year’s top three were fire pits/fireplaces (71.5%), wireless/internet connectivity (70.8%) and lighting (67.8%).

Indeed, wireless/internet connectivity was grouped this year with movies, TV, and video theaters and stereo systems, a lineup that received 48.0 percent of the vote in the outdoor design elements category.

The top landscape and garden elements in 2018 are expected to include native plants (83.3%), low-maintenance landscapes (80.0%) and rain gardens (71.2%). In 2017, the top three were native plants (81.6%), low-maintenance landscapes (79.3%) and food/vegetable gardens (76.5%).

The outdoor recreation amenities category has been revised this year to include amenity types for both single-family and multi-family residences. The top three types in 2018 include dog-related recreation areas (68.0%), designated areas for other outdoor recreation (61.5%) and bocce courts (42.5%).

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