A recent study conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects reveals the most popular landscape trends and in-demand features for today’s home landscape.

American homeowners increasingly are drawn to adding outdoor rooms for entertaining and recreation on their properties, according to the 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey. The results also show demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design.

Landscape architects who specialize in residential design across the country were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements in 2013. The category of outdoor living spaces, defined as kitchens and entertainment spaces, received a 94.5 percent rating as somewhat or very popular. It all but tied with gardens and landscaped spaces at 94.4 percent.

Across all categories, 97 percent of respondents rated fire pits and fireplaces as somewhat or very in-demand for 2013, followed by grills (96.3 percent), seating and dining areas (96.3 percent), and landscape lighting (95.1 percent).

“In this uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “They want attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and sustainable.”

Decorative water elements—including waterfalls, ornamental pools, and splash pools—were predicted to be in demand for home landscapes (90.9 percent). Spas (81.5 percent) and pools (75.3 percent) are also expected to be popular.

Terraces, patios, and decks are high on people’s lists (97.6 percent), as are fencing (89.6 percent) and ornamental water features (84.2 percent).

Americans still prefer such practical yet striking design elements for their gardens as low-maintenance landscapes (93.9 percent) and native plants (86.6 percent), with organic slightly increasing in popularity (65.3 percent compared to 61.2 percent in 2011). In keeping with the local food movement, more people are opting for food and vegetable gardens, including orchards and vineyards (82.7 percent).
Besides planting locally and organically, other sustainable elements continue their popularity with homeowners. Native or drought-tolerant plants (83 percent), drip irrigation (82.5 percent), permeable paving (72.8 percent) and reduced lawns (72.6 percent) are making their way into outdoor living spaces across the country.

2013 Survey Results

Outdoor Design Elements (Percent of responders rating these elements as “Popular” or “Somewhat Popular”)

Outdoor living spaces (kitchens, entertainment spaces) – 94.5%

Gardens/landscaped spaces – 94.4%

Outdoor recreation amenities (pools, spas, tennis courts) – 76.3%

Sustainable design practices – 74.8%

Vegetable/fruit gardens – 76.4%

Turf lawns – 52.2%

 

Outdoor Living Features

Fire pits/fireplace – 97.0%

Grills – 96.3%

Seating/dining areas – 96.3%

Lighting – 95.1%

Installed seating (benches, seat walls, ledges, steps, boulders) – 90.3%

Weatherized outdoor furniture – 82.3%

Counter space – 74.4%

Utility storage – 64.4%

Stereo systems – 58.5%

Outdoor heaters – 50.6%

Sinks – 49.1%

Refrigerators – 48.7%

Wireless/Internet connectivity – 47.8%

Televisions/projection screens – 45.2%

Showers/baths – 43.3%

Outdoor cooling systems (including fans) – 31.1%

Hammocks – 24.1%

Bedrooms/sleeping spaces – 8.0%

 

Outdoor Recreation Amenities

Decorative water elements such as ornamental pools, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels or bubblers – 90.9%

Spa features (hot tub, Jacuzzi, whirlpool, indoor/outdoor sauna) – 81.5%

Swimming pools – 75.3%

Sports/recreational spaces (tennis courts, bocce ball, etc.) – 54.3%

Movie/video/TV theatres – 34.4%

 

Landscape/Garden Elements

Low maintenance landscapes – 93.9%

Native plants – 86.6%

Fountains/ornamental water features – 84.7%

Food/Vegetable gardens (including orchards/vineyards etc.) – 82.7%

Organic gardens – 65.3%

Xeriscaping or dry gardens – 63.8%

Ponds/streams – 58.3%

Rain gardens – 58.2%

Rooftop gardens – 50.4%

Plant walls/vertical gardens – 47.9%

 

Sustainable Design Elements

Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants – 83.0%

Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 82.5%

Permeable paving – 72.8%

Reduced lawn – 72.6%

Recycled materials – 62.5%

Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 59.1%

Compost bins – 55.1%

Solar-powered lights – 40.6%

Geothermal-heated pools – 28.4%

 

Outdoor Structures

Terraces/patios/decks – 97.6%

Fencing (includes gates) – 89.6%

Ornamental water features such as fountains or splash pools – 84.2%

Arbors – 83.5%

Pergolas – 81.6%

Decks – 80.9%

Steps – 80.6%

Porches – 71.5%

Kitchens/ovens – 67.1%

Utility sheds (tool sheds, garden sheds, etc.) – 64.8%

Art (sculptures, murals etc.) – 61.0%

Play structures (tree houses, swing sets, etc.) – 56.3%

Awnings, including retractable – 51.9%

Pavilions – 47.8%

Gazebos – 44.8%

Columns – 44.5%

ADA-accessible structures (ramps, bars, accessible shelving, etc.) – 22.1%

Additional information on residential landscape architecture can be found at www.asla.org/residentialinfo.

Please share this article with others who are interested in popular landscape trends such as outdoor rooms, sustainable landscapes, and low-maintenance design.