Feb 26, 2016

Trends Survey Reflects Growing Customer Demand for Water-Saving Residential Landscapes

Rainwater/graywater harvesting top trend in sustainable design

asla, sustainable design, water saving, survey

Sustainable design is the big trend for residential landscapes, according to the 2016 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The top trend—rainwater/graywater harvesting—reflects a growing consumer demand for residential landscapes that also save water.

Landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements in 2016. The survey was fielded Feb. 4 through Feb. 18, 2016, with 803 responding.

Respondents expected the greatest demand for outdoor living spaces that are environmentally sustainable, reduce water costs and are low maintenance.

The top 10 project types with the expected highest consumer demand include:

  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88%
  • Native plants – 86%
  • Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants – 85%
  • Low-maintenance landscapes – 85%
  • Permeable paving – 77%
  • Fire pits/fireplaces – 75%
  • Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 75%
  • Rain gardens – 73%
  • Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 72%
  • Reduced lawn area – 72%

Water-focused design elements dominated this year's top 10 list and reflect consumers' growing commitment to landscapes that reduce water use and storm water runoff, said Nancy Somerville, CEO of ASLA.

"Water issues are hot topics for many communities, and many people are turning to landscape architects for creative green infrastructure solutions," said Somerville. "Sustainable residential landscape architecture, if part of a broader integrated site design, can dramatically reduce water usage and storm water runoff over the long term while creating a healthy residential environment."

The top three most popular outdoor design elements include fire pits/fireplaces (75%), lighting (67%) and wireless/internet connectivity (66%).

The top landscape and garden elements include native plants (86%), low-maintenance landscapes (85%) and food/vegetable gardens (75%). Pergolas (51%), decks (47%), arbors (44%) and fencing (44%) are expected to be the most popular outdoor structures.

The hottest sustainable design elements include rainwater/graywater harvesting (88%), native/adapted drought tolerant plants (85%) and permeable paving (77%).

The most popular outdoor recreation amenities for 2016 will include sports courts (41%), spa features (40%) and swimming pools (36%).