Landscape Architects Identify Outdoor Design Trends For 2008

Demand up for great rooms and energy efficient landscapes


Washington, DC, January 3, 2008 —No longer content with just the outdoor kitchen, homeowners will add entire great rooms outdoors this year according to a survey of leading members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). On the commercial side, clients will focus on low maintenance landscapes, stormwater runoff, and earning LEED® certification.

Conducted in December, the informal poll asked leading landscape architects about the top residential and commercial trends for 2008. On the residential side, outdoor kitchens and fire pits continue to be popular requests. However, more and more homeowners are asking for outdoor “great rooms” incorporating the living room, dining room, and kitchen for family gatherings and outdoor entertaining.

“Homeowners are reconnecting with their outdoor space, often in creative and imaginative ways,” said Perry Howard, FASLA, President of ASLA. “It’s no surprise that people want to take elements that work so well inside their home and recreate them outside.”

Additionally, landscape architects anticipate a revival of the garden. Lawn maintenance costs—especially irrigation—will lead homeowners to consider water-saving features and less of the traditional grass lawn. Instead, gardens will increase in prominence while incorporating more native and drought-resistant plants. These same features can also make a home’s landscape significantly more sustainable.

Cost mitigation will be a major consideration among commercial clients this year as well. Low-maintenance landscapes that utilize native and drought-resistant plants and other techniques to lower irrigation costs will increase in 2008. Building owners will also use more porous paving and bioswales to manage stormwater runoff. All of these elements fit into another trend for 2008: more commercial clients obtaining certifications from green rating systems, such as the U. S. Green Building Council’s LEED® metrics.

“More and more landscape architects see a demand for incorporating and quantifying sustainable design—especially on the commercial side,” Perry added. “This is one reason we are creating the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which will give clients and designers the tools and best practices for designing energy efficient, environmentally friendly landscapes.” Sustainable Sites is a partnership between ASLA, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the U.S. Botanic Garden to create a green rating system for sustainable landscape design in all types of projects.

In addition to sustainable design, commercial clients will incorporate more gardens, walking paths, or other methods for people to relax and enjoy the outdoor environment. More of these spaces will utilize the existing natural features and vegetation as well.

High resolution images can be downloaded here:
Outdoor Rooms
Manhattan rooftop terrace features a full kitchen, dining room, and living area:
Photo credit: 2007 ASLA Award Winner, Sawyer/Berson Architecture & Landscape Architecture, LLP, Photos by Dana Gallagher & Bill Cunningham.

Connecticut country house includes outdoor living room with fireplace:
Photo credit: 2007 ASLA Award Winner, Wesley Stout Associates, Photos by Jeff McNamara.

Stormwater Management
Portland street project filters and controls rainwater though street gardens:
Photo credit: 2007 ASLA Award Winner, Kevin Robert Perry, ASLA, Photos by Kevin Robert Perry, ASLA


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371