By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) MagazineA home’s inviting outdoor space may be just enough to get a home buyer to fall in love. TheAmerican Society of Landscape Architects recently surveyed nearly 180 landscape architects asking them to rate the expected popularity for 2014 of a variety of residential outdoor elements.
Across all categories, respondents rated the following as “somewhat” or “very in-demand” for 2014: lighting, seating/dining areas; fire pits/fireplaces; grills; installed seating, such as benches, seatwalls, ledges, steps, and boulders.“Home owners know that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values,” says Nancy Somerville, ASLA executive vice president and CEO. “They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly.”Here’s a breakdown of how home owners are sprucing up their outdoor spaces, and some of the top trends that landscape architects pinpointed for 2014 in each category.Top Outdoor Design Elements1. Gardens and landscaped spaces2. Outdoor living spaces (kitchens, entertainment spaces)3. Outdoor recreation amenities (pools, spas, tennis courts)4. Sustainable design practicesTop Outdoor Living Features1. Lighting2. Seating/dining areas3. Fire pits/fireplaces4. GrillsTop Outdoor Recreation Amenities1. Decorative water elements, such as ornamental pools, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels, or bubblers2. Spa features (hot tub, Jacuzzi, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor sauna)3. Swimming pools4. Sports/recreational spaces (tennis courts, bocce ball, etc.)Top Landscape/Garden Elements1. Low maintenance landscapes2. Native plants3. Fountains/ornamental water features4. Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards/vineyards, etc.Top Sustainable Design Elements1. Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants2. Drip/water-efficient irrigation3. Permeable paving4. Reduced lawnTop Outdoor Structures1. Terraces/patios/decks2. Fencing (includes gates)3. Pergolas4. Decks