Whether you’re redesigning your outdoor living space and garden room to go along with your home renovation or are planning for a brand new home, there are a lot of places to look to for design inspiration, which can make the decision making process all the more difficult. However, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) helps make the process a bit easier thanks to its annual Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey.

Each year, the ASLA surveys the nation’s top landscape architects and designers to rate design elements and trends according to their projected popularity. The 2014 survey results are in, and we’re reveling in the chance to stay ahead of the design curve by planning outdoor spaces influenced by this year’s category winners!

The survey first addressed the most popular ways outdoor spaces are used. The top anticipated use of outdoor space is landscaped gardens coming in at 94.2 percent estimated popularity, followed by outdoor kitchens and entertainment and then outdoor recreation, such as pools and tennis courts.

The top three features that were prized above others, regardless of the type of outdoor space, were lighting (98.3 percent), seating/dining areas (97.7 percent) and fire pits/fireplaces (95.4 percent). Other elements highly-rated in this category for 2014 include grills, installed seating and outdoor furniture.

New England architects

Design by TMS Architects

Water design integration swept the category for recreation amenities. Decorative water elements, such as waterfalls and ornamental pools, were voted most in-demand at 86.1 percent, followed by spa features like hot tubs, saunas and whirlpools, then swimming pools.

The perfect outdoor space doesn’t have to be difficult to maintain. 95.4 percent of ASLA’s polled experts anticipate that low-maintenance landscapes will reign supreme this year. This trend mirrors the trend of general sustainability that is expected to attract buyers in 2014. Native plants, adapted plants and drought-tolerant plants were the element of choice in the sustainability category at 88 percent. At a close second was drip/water-efficient irrigation at 84.5 percent.

New England architects

Design by TMS Architects

This year’s results continue to confirm that intentionally-designed outdoor spaces bring beauty, functionality and value to your home, making them well worth your investment.

Inspired to add some of this year’s trends to your space? Contact TMS Architects so we can help you find out which elements will best highlight your custom design. You can find examples of several of the top choices from ASLA’s 2014 survey in photos from our Houzz profile and online portfolio.

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