ASLA releases 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey

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Updated Apr 9, 2018

Woman doing yoga in a residential landscaped yardThe American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently released its 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, which was fielded Feb. 22 through March 8.

For this survey, landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of 2018 residential outdoor design elements, and ASLA reports that 808 responded.

The survey for this year was revised to include new types of outdoor amenities that would both appeal to single-family and multi-family owners and residents. ASLA says that residential design is the largest market sector for the landscape architecture profession. Most of that work, ASLA reports, consists of single-family homes but it also includes multi-family and retirement communities.

Since this was changed in the survey, ASLA says flexible outdoor spaces for activities like yoga and outdoor movie nights, as well as charging stations for mobile devices entered the top 10 project types for the first time.

The top 10 project types with the highest expected consumer demand are as follows:

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

Almost unchanged from 2017, this lineup does feature the new additions of flexible-use space and charging stations.

Ranking in the top three popular spots for outdoor design elements are fire pits/fireplaces at 66 percent, lighting at 65.4 percent and seating/dining areas at 64 percent.

Last year, the top three spots were dominated by fire pits/fireplaces at 71.5 percent, wireless/internet connectivity at 70.8 percent and lighting at 67.8 percent. This year, wireless/internet connectivity was grouped with movies, video theaters, stereo systems and TV, which received 48 percent of the vote in the outdoor design elements category.

A newer answer choice added to the outdoor structure category this year was enhanced railing systems, which includes those with cable or glass. This category ranked first at 51 percent and was followed by pergolas at 48.3 percent and decks at 42.8 percent. The top three for last year were pergolas at 50.3 percent, decks at 41.4 percent and fencing at 39.8 percent.

ASLA says the hottest sustainable design elements include native/adapted drought tolerant plants at 83 percent, permeable paving at 74 percent and drip/water-efficient irrigation at 72.4 percent. In this category last year, the top three were almost identical with native/adapted drought tolerant plants at 82.3 percent, permeable paving at 76.3 percent and reduced lawn area at 72.7 percent.

In the category of outdoor recreation amenities, a revision took place to include amenity types for both single-family and multi-family residences. ASLA notes that labyrinths were removed, and sports courts were broken down into more specific types. For 2018, the top three types include dog-related recreation areas at 68 percent, designated areas for other outdoor recreation at 61.5 percent and bocce courts at 42.5 percent. In this category for last year, the top three were sports courts at 42.4 percent, spa features at 39.7 percent and swimming pools at 39.2 percent.

A new question was added regarding multi-family outdoor amenities for this year’s survey. ASLA says the top three trends for this category include flexible use space (for yoga classes, movie nights, etc.) at 74.2 percent, charging stations at 70 percent and bike storage at 69.9 percent.

For a full list of survey categories, click here.

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