5 On-Trend Ideas from the ASLA to Enrich Your Outdoor Space

Sustainable and low maintenance design are the two overarching features that the annual American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) uncovered as the top trends for residential landscape projects in 2015 and beyond.

Landscape design trends are revealed each year with the ASLA’s Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey. 2015’s Survey received 581 respondents. All respondents are landscape architects with years of experience and knowledge. The Survey asks respondents to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements including: outdoor design elements, outdoor recreation amenities, landscape/garden elements, outdoor structures, and sustainable elements.

This article will look in detail at the variety of residential outdoor design elements and how they are ranked in the Survey, as well as making suggestions about you can implement these top trends into your very own outdoor space.

Some of the project types with the expected highest consumer demand are below.

1. Native Plants:

Here in Australia, native plants are very highly sought after in the garden as they are relatively easy to look after and require minimal water. Native plants give every garden a great touch. Take a look at some of our favourites below.    

2. Food/Vegetable Gardens:

With the ever-increasing trend of knowing where exactly the food you eat comes from, more and more people are deciding to plant their very own vegetable gardens – in their own backyard. There is plenty of information online if you’d like to get your own vegetable garden started. Alternatively, just pop into a nursery and the store assistants will be able to assist you in finding easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables for your garden. Start off at the simple end of the scale with fruits such as tomatoes and strawberries, and then begin planting lettuces and brassica vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbages. Before you know it your weekly supermarket shop will be a thing of the past.


3. Fire Pits/Fireplaces:

Outdoor fireplace are a great feature, and have overtaken water features in terms of popularity for 2015. The outdoor fireplace trend works particularly well as it can be a great attraction for when you are entertaining friends and family. An outdoor fireplace works well with some comfy outdoor furniture. Opt for an outdoor fireplace only if you have a relatively sizeable backyard to offset the feature.

4. Low-Maintenance Landscapes:

With people leading busier lives than ever, the thought of spending hours and hours on ones backyard is not only likely impossible, it is also likely unwelcome. Consequently, low-maintenance landscapes are increasingly sought after. These sort of landscapes include vegetation that needs little maintenance – both in terms of watering and pruning. In order to save time when maintaining your outdoor area, group plants that need similar light, watering, and pruning together, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on a lot of different sections of the garden.

Mulching can effectively and aesthetically reduce maintenance time by acting as a weed barrier, holding moisture in, releasing nutrients into the soil, and improving the appearance of the soil.
An automatic irrigation system may be expensive upfront but will save you valuable time in the long run.

5. Sustainable Outdoor Furniture

Running with the theme of sustainability and environmentally-conscious trends comes sustainable teak outdoor furniture. If you want to pick up some of your own sustainably sourced outdoor furniture, you may need to look past some of the big name retailers and delve a little deeper in your search of companies that treat environmental sustainability as crucial to the environment.

At Bali Republic, eco-friendly materials is at the core of our business. We source our teak from government accredited and approved teak plantations in Java, Indonesia. A-grade teak ensures long-lasting product quality. Bali Republic ensure all materials used in production are in-line with company policy.  

6. Permeable Paving:

Another sustainable factor that is increasing in popularity is permeable paving. The range of sustainable and eco-friendly materials from such paving allows the movement of rainwater through the surface. This then traps the suspended water and filters pollutants from the water. This then works to control stormwater at the source, reduces runoff, and improves water quality.  

Whilst permeable paving has always been common for residential streets, it is only recently becoming more in-trend in residential homes. The ASLA have given permeable paving a place on the 2015 list of project types with the highest consumer demand. 

7. Drip/Water-Efficient Irrigation:

Drip irrigation is a method that came into popularity in the 1960s. It works to save water and fertilise by allowing water to drip onto roots slowly. The water drips either onto the surface of the soil or directly onto the roots through narrow tubes.
Why is this method expected to increase in popularity in 2015? Another example of societies increasing penchant for environmentally sustainable gardening methods, the drip irrigation method has the following advantages:

  • If managed correctly, water efficiency is high
  • Nutrient and fertiliser loss is minimised due to direct application
  • Recycled water can be used
  • The chances of soil erosion decreases

Used in farms, greenhouses, and now residential homes. Drip kits for residential homes are available that consist of the drip irrigation essentials: timer, hose, and emitter.

8. Rain Gardens:

A water saving garden similar to a regular garden, however designed specifically to capture storm water from those places where it often goes to waste; driveways, patios, and roofs. The water is captured via downpipes from these places and distributed amongst the garden.

9. Lighting:

Unique garden lighting systems that are different to the norm are becoming increasingly popular, and will emerge in popularity in 2015 and beyond, according to the ASLA. Some unique ideas for garden lighting includes:
  • On the stairs of a deck
  • Facing upwards and focusing on statues or smaller trees
  • Up the sides of pergolas or structures
  • In water features including ponds and swimming pools
Take a look at Pinterest if you want some inspiration for interesting garden lights that will really set your outdoor space apart.

10. Rainwater/Grey-Water Harvesting:

Greywater is any domestic wastewater produced (excluding sewerage). Greywater harvesting is putting this water to good use by using it not only inside, but also outside. Harvest grey-water by using it for the laundry, for toilet-flushing, and for the irrigation of plants. Doing this has many benefits, including:
  • Reducing the need for fresh water; save on bills and help the environment
  • Reducing the amount of wastewater your household produces
As you can see, sustainability is at the core of all of the above trends. This is the case with all renovations, both interior and exterior, as we move towards a more environmentally conscious society.