Landscaping Goes High-Tech


Ahh, there’s nothing like an afternoon spent relaxing in the backyard. Grass underfoot, sun up above, surrounded by… wifi?

That’s right. According to the 2017 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), for the first time, wireless/internet connectivity entered the top ten project types, suggesting that people want a backyard that allows them to enjoy both nature and connectivity.

For the annual survey, landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements in 2017. Here are the top ten project types with the expected highest consumer demand:

– Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 82.31 percent

– Native plants – 81.60 percent

– Low-maintenance landscapes – 79.25 percent

– Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 76.52 percent

– Permeable paving – 76.31 percent

– Reduced lawn area – 72.66 percent

– Fire pits/fireplaces – 71.51 percent

– Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 71.05 percent

– Wireless/internet connectivity – 70.77 percent

– Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 70.32 percent

“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, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA.

The top three most popular outdoor design elements include: fire pits/fireplaces (71.51 percent), wireless/internet connectivity (70.77 percent) and lighting (67.83 percent).

Sustainability is also a priority. The top landscape and garden elements include native plants (81.60 percent), low-maintenance landscapes (79.25 percent) and food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) (76.52 percent). Pergolas (50.33 percent), decks (41.35 percent), fencing (39.82 percent) and arbors (38.74 percent) are expected to be the most popular outdoor structures.

The hottest sustainable design elements include native/adapted drought tolerant plants (82.31 percent), permeable paving (76.31 percent) and reduced lawn area (72.66 percent).

The most popular outdoor recreation amenities for 2017 will include sports courts (42.38 percent), spa features (39.68 percent) and swimming pools (39.23 percent).

Source: American Society of Landscape Architects

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