2016 Top Ten Design Trends for Your Home’s Outdoor Landscape

2016 Top Ten Design Trends for Your Home’s Outdoor Landscape

As a member of the landscape industry, Schmechtig Landscapes subscribes to many organizations feeding us the latest news, trends and events in our industry.  Here are the 2016 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey results including top ten design trends conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).  Landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements in 2016.
The survey was fielded February 4 through February 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.
Water-focused design elements dominated this year’s top ten list and reflect consumers’ growing commitment to landscapes that reduce water use and stormwater runoff, says Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and 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 stormwater runoff over the long term while creating a healthy residential environment.”


The top three most popular outdoor design elements include fire pits/fireplaces (74.95 percent), lighting (66.67 percent) and wireless/internet connectivity (65.86 percent).


The top landscape and garden elements include native plants (86.02 percent), low-maintenance landscapes (84.55 percent) and food/vegetable gardens (74.95 percent). Pergolas (50.94 percent), decks (47.40 percent), arbors (44.32 percent) and fencing (44.07 percent) are expected to be the most popular outdoor structures.


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


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

Here are the top ten project types with the expected highest consumer demand:
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%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Long Grove Illinois Landscape with Fire Pit and seat wall for additional outdoor seating


Outdoor Design Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Fire pits/fireplaces – 75%
 Lighting – 67%
 Wireless/internet connectivity – 66%
 Seating/dining areas – 64%
 Outdoor furniture – 63%
 Planters, sculptures, garden accessories – 56%
 Grills – 54%
 Counter space – 50%
 Outdoor heaters – 47%
 Stereo systems – 40%
 Movie/TV/video theaters – 38%
 Utility storage – 35%
 Sinks – 33%
 Refrigerators – 31%
 Outdoor cooling systems (including fans) – 29%
 Showers/baths – 29%
 Hammocks – 21%
 Bedrooms/sleeping spaces – 11%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois fire pit


Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington, Illinois, Outdoor Living Room with pavers and outdoor rug; Outdoor Dining Room with fireplace, raised plant beds, seat walls, pergola and outdoor lighting chandelier; Outdoor Sleeping Space with futon and pillows.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois Outdoor Kitchen and Dining with grill, refridgerator, warming drawers, granite counter tops and blue stone flooring



Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington, Illinois landscape design incorporating planter and sculptures.



Schmechtig Landscapes Lake Bluff, Illinois front landscape design – circular driveway with permiable pavers, crushed blue stone with ancillary globe sculpture 

 Outdoor Recreation Amenities Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Sports courts (tennis, bocce, etc.) – 41%
 Spa features (hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas) – 40%
 Swimming pools – 36%
 Labyrinths – 11%



Schmechtig Landscapes Winnetka, Illinois Backyard with pool, spa, outdoor dinning room and fire pit.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Forest, Illinois spa and pool


Landscape/Garden Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Native plants – 86%
 Low-maintenance landscapes – 85%
 Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 75%
 Rain gardens – 73%
 Water-saving xeriscape or dry gardens – 68%
 Organic gardens – 64%
 Plant walls/vertical gardens – 61%
 Rooftop gardens – 55%
 Decorative water elements (ornamental pools, fountains, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels or bubblers) – 46%
 Ponds/streams – 29%


Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington Hills, Illinois Landscape Design with pond and moving stream



Schmechtig Landscapes, Wilmette Illinois Landscape Garden Design with waterfall and pond



Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington Hills, Illinois Landscape Garden Design with water fountain feature


Outdoor Structures Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Pergolas – 51%
 Decks – 47%
 Arbors – 44%
 Fencing – 44%
 Porches – 40%
 ADA accessible structures (ramps, bars, shelving, etc.) – 38%
 Pavilions – 33%
 Play structures (treehouses, swing sets, etc.) – 31%
 Utility sheds (tool sheds, garden sheds) – 28%
 Gazebos – 24%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Wilmette Illinois, Landscape Garden Design with arbors, climbing roses, container urns and blue stone walking path



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois Patio with Pergola



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois garden building structure with ancillary globe sculpture 



Schmechtig Landscapes HGTV Project, Schaumburg, Illinois with upper outdoor deck, pergola with attached outdoor see-thru fireplace to living room and dinning room areas and an outdoor kitchen with grill, refridgerator and granite counters.


Sustainable Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88%
 Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 85%
 Permeable paving – 77%
 Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 72%
 Reduced lawn area – 72%
 Recycled materials – 61%
 Solar-powered lights – 56%
 Compost bins – 45%
 Geothermal heated pools – 28%



Courtesy of The American Society of Landscape Architects website: https://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=48055

About the American Society of Landscape Architects: Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters. Members of the Society use “ASLA” after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Landscape architects lead the stewardship, planning and design of our built and natural environments; the Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education and fellowship.