The top residential landscaping trends for 2016 reveal that many homeowners are moving toward outdoor designs that are not only beautiful, but also promote green living.

The top residential landscaping trends for 2016 reveal that many homeowners are moving toward outdoor designs that are not only beautiful, but also promote green living.


The American Society of Landscape Architects conducted the survey which asked more than 800 landscape architects what they believe will be the top design trends for residential landscapes this year.


According to ASLA’s survey, 88 percent of participants predicted that rainwater and graywater harvesting would be the top project type in 2016. Compared to ASLA’s 2015 study, rainwater and graywater harvesting ranked 10th place for the top project type that year.


Landscapes that include native plants ranked second for the top project type of 2016 on ASLA’s survey. The team here at Hoerr Schaudt is no stranger to working with what nature makes available.


Learning about what type of flora is indigenous to the region is a key factor for blending together a landscape design with its surroundings. For a recent project in Harbor Springs, Michigan, we used a nearby nature preserve for inspiration. We implemented a full palette of greens including bright ferns and maturing trees to create a mythical-like outdoor space.

The design for this private residence in harbor springs, Michigan, incorporated native woodland plantings using inspiration from a nearby nature preserve.

Fire pits and fireplaces also earned the number one spot for the second year in a row for the top outdoor design element for 2016. In another recent project in Winnetka, Illinois, we were faced with a challenging layout. The property was long, narrow, and in close proximity to neighbors.

To boost the privacy of the space, we used low lying curving stone walls, naturalized Midwestern plants, and incorporated a fire pit which added a bit of warmth to the landscape.

Low lying curving stone walls and naturalized midwestern plants increased the privacy on this residential property on Chicago’s north shore. Our design also incorporated a fire pit, one of Asla’s top design elements of 2016, adding to the warmth of this outdoor space.

Below you’ll find the rest of the results of ASLA’s top design trends for residential landscape architecture in 2016:


Top project types:

  • 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%


Top Outdoor Design Elements:

  • 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%


Top Outdoor Recreation Amenities:

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


Top Landscape/Garden Elements:

  • 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%


Top Outdoor Structures:

  • 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%


Top Sustainable Elements

  • 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%