What’s Hot Outdoors: Sustainable, High-Tech

March 9, 2017

Two big selling points for your listings’ outdoor spaces are sustainability and tech friendliness. The American Society of Landscape Architects says those features were the two most popular design elements with outdoor living spaces in ASLA’s 2017 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey. ASLA surveyed 817 landscape architects to determine the popularity of certain outdoor features. 

About 82 percent of landscape architects said that native or adapted drought-tolerant plants were in high demand for projects this year. Nearly 80 percent of respondents also cited low-maintenance landscapes as popular. 

More than half of the top 10 projects expected this year included energy-saving, sustainable, or environmentally conscious outdoor additions, such as gardens, irrigation, permeable paving, and reduced lawn area, ASLA notes. 

Also, tech connections outdoors are growing more popular. In the first time on the list, wireless internet connections landed at number nine of the top 10 most popular outdoor trends in 2017 on the survey. 

“The fact that more consumers want outdoor wireless access shows that they want expanded options for remaining connected to their devices,” says Nancy C. Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA.

The following were the top outdoor design elements, according to this year’s survey: 

• Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 82.3%

• Native plants – 81.6% 

• Low-maintenance landscapes – 79.3% 

• Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 76.5% 

• Permeable paving – 76.3% 

• Reduced lawn area – 72.7% 

• Fire pits/fireplaces – 71.5%

• Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 71.1% 

• Wireless/internet connectivity – 70.8%

• Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 70.3% 

“Well-designed residential landscapes provide social interaction, enjoyment of nature, and physical activity, while also reducing water use and stormwater runoff,” Somerville says.

Source: “Demand for Sustainable, Tech Friendly Residential Landscapes,” American Society of Landscape Architects (March 7, 2017)