Top 10 Outdoor Design Trends

Tap into the best new landscaping trends from the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Photo By: Chapel Valley Landscape Co, Woodbine , MD/NALP

1: Designing for Experiences

Outdoor living is trending, and this year, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is seeing an emphasis on yards that are both fun and functional. More and more of us are adding outdoor lighting and audio/visual systems to create multiuse spaces we can enjoy by day or night.

Instead of wondering what you should do with your backyard, Missy Henriksen, NALP’s VP of Public Affairs, suggests thinking about what you want to do with it. “Do you want to be active and entertain adults or kids, or have some ‘wow’ features? There’s no cookie cutter approach to what’s right. I’ve seen life-size chess boards, yoga spaces, bocce ball courts and outdoor kitchens. Fire features are immensely popular.”

You can innovate or renovate on any budget. If yours is limited, make a long-term plan and work toward it in affordable steps.


Photo By: Lawns of Dallas , TX , NALP

2: Focusing on First Impressions

Henriksen says she’s also seeing more interest in landscapes that make great first impressions. “We want to welcome visitors to our homes with beautiful, healthy lawns and plantings. We used to invest in our backyards, but now we’re giving more attention to the front.” Water features, courtyards, sculptures and ornate paths are popular design choices for homeowners. Office and commercial properties, she says, are creating walking and biking paths, gardens and outdoor dining areas for employees and customers.


Photo By: Design by Sundown , Littleton , CO/NALP

3: Weatherproofing Your Landscape

Bomb cyclones, hurricanes and heat waves. Unpredictable weather usually drives us indoors, but NALP reports we’re using more outdoor heaters, retractable canopies, sails and pergolas to protect our patios and outdoor living areas from rain, wind, snow and other elements. “We’re seeing more roofing structures,” Henriksen adds, as well as horizontal and vertical blinds that can deflect sun and heat.


Photo By: Grunder Landscaping Co, Miamisburg , OH/NALP

4: Using Hardier Hardscape Materials

Fickle weather has also increased the demand for durable, long-lasting hardscape materials, particularly in northern climates, Henriksen notes. Concrete, granite and flagstone pavers are good choices. If you live in a hot region, NALP often recommends materials in lighter colors that won’t absorb a lot of sun, so you can walk around barefoot in the summer. Investing in quality materials that can handle big temperature swings lets you enjoy your outdoor space for a longer period of time.




Information Courtesy of Lynn Coulter

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