The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has released its list of top lawn and landscape trends to watch for in 2019.
NALP generates its list by drawing from the expertise of landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals.
“Homeowners yearn for beautiful outdoor spaces without the hassle of upkeep,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NALP. “With the rise of multifunctional landscape design and automated processes, consumers can spend more time enjoying their landscapes than ever before. This year’s trends reflect current lifestyle preferences as well as innovations happening in the industry that are transforming landscapes across the country.”
Below are the top five trends NALP expects you to see this year:
Two-in-one landscape design
Landscape features no longer can be present without serving a purpose. Having elements that can pull double-duty is even better in most cases as consumers are often working with less space and need functional elements that can serve dual purposes.
“Functional features give customers and homeowners more bang for their buck,” Henriksen says. “It gives them aesthetic features that they may be looking for but also the opportunity to have the power for that investment do more for them.”
Some examples of this would an edible vertical garden that also serves as a privacy fence or a retaining wall that also has seating built-in for hosting parties.
“It mirrors our lifestyle,” she says. “None of us just do one thing at a time. We’re multitaskers and we’re looking to model efficiencies and have things really be able to perform at their complete full capacity for us.”
Automated lawn maintenance
Technology is always improving to help streamline tasks so it should come as no surprise that it would reach the green industry as well. Programmable irrigation systems and advanced lighting systems are becoming more common and often homeowners appreciate the fact these features free them up to enjoy their outdoor spaces more.
Robotic mowers are also rising in popularity and Henriksen says that this push for automation is customer driven.
“Robotic mowers are something that we’re seeing a tremendous amount of interest in,” she says. “For homeowners doing things on their own, it can certainly save them time but also even for professionals. Anything that can be automated can reduce the number of manhours or reinvest the manhours in other tasks. Having those things that are repetitious taken care of by technology allows people to use their minds and their talents on other things that need a little bit more individualization.”
Henriksen says that based on their research among members and the feedback from landscape companies across the country, robotic mowers are viewed favorably.
“A lot of people have started with a small investment, maybe just giving a couple of them a try and then they’ve really increased their purchase for this coming year,” Henriksen says. “So, I think we’re going to continue to see an increase in the use of robotic mowers, both residentially and commercially.”
She says they’ve also heard more professionals discussing designing spaces that will work well with robotic mowers.
What can sometimes be an afterthought in the landscape, pergolas are now taking center stage as part of outdoor living area designs. These are often outfitted with upgrades like rolldown windows, space heaters, lighting and more.
“Customers wanting that from the get go allows designers to figure out how to incorporate them in the design,” Henriksen says.
The desire to get more use out of a pergola goes back to NALP’s first trend with customers wanting their landscape elements to do more than one thing.
Henriksen also notes that as telecommuting becomes more prevalent for workers, more customers are requesting features that will allow them to work outside when they’re home, like charging stations.
“If you’re going to be outside working, if that’s where you’re going to get your energy, that’s where you’re going to get your creative vision to execute well for your company,” she says. “Position yourself in a way that will allow you to be successful, whether that’s a little shade that’s added through a pergola or technology that goes out there for you.”
While it may not seem like a go-to choice for a material to include in the landscape, NALP is reporting that adding metal can add another dimension to a design.
“We’re really expecting that to grow,” Henriksen says. “A lot of design trends indoors make their way outdoors. Using accents of metal or metal decor in your home is expected to be a major interior design trend for 2019, and so that same look and feel we expect people to be requesting that more in their outdoor design as well.”
Adding metal can come in the form of a water feature, decorative art or perhaps some furniture, and different types of metals can serve as accents or focal points.
“A lot of landscape professionals are always looking to do something different,” she says. “They’re artists and they really bring out that vision and they want to look at what new materials are and how they can help their customers have unique and distinctive landscapes, whether that’s through steel or iron or different kinds of metal.”
As mentioned in previous coverage, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral. NALP expects to see more pops of coral and blush in the landscape. NALP members anticipate this color prediction will boost the popularity in roses, petunias, zinnias and hibiscus.
Henriksen says the prevalence of this trend will depend more on customer demand and what is currently in their landscapes.
“It has to match what’s happening in the rest of the yard,” she says. “Not all of us are meant to wear skinny jeans even though they may be the style, so what’s going to work in a yard depends on the rest of the landscape. It may influence what professionals are recommending for softscapes, but I don’t think the Color of the Year will be the end all and be all of what ends up in corporate and residential landscapes.”