Landscape Trends on the Horizon

Renewed interest in the great outdoors has led consumers to embrace thoughtful, low-maintenance design and smart technology for their outdoor gathering spaces and landscaping. Outdoor entertaining has gained trending momentum over the past several years. Landscaping experts anticipate an increase in requests for outdoor gathering spaces that enhance landscaping, and allow people to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Low-maintenance materials, tech-savvy exterior kitchens and fire features are trending for residential areas. Commercial buildings too are looking for cost-effective and technical landscaping innovations.

"In addition to savvy homeowners seeking smart landscape solutions, commercial property executives and facility managers are continuing to look for new and innovative ways to adapt their commercial landscapes to environmental elements to take outdoor living to the next level for tenants" said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The top three design trends for commercial properties, according to the NALP, are interiorscapes, green roofs, and cultivars.

Stunning Interiorscapes

One of the most anticipated landscape trends for 2018 are indoor landscapes. Facility managers are seeking to bring the outdoors inside for their tenants. These "interiorscapes" are no longer limited to potted topical plants. Large "green" walls made entirely of greenery and other plants will be a big part of this trend in 2018. Commercial buildings and areas can use these "green" walls to create a dramatic focal point in lobbies and courtyards.

New Heights and Unusual Places

Green roofs, including grass roofs and roof gardens, provide stress-reducing green space for tenants to enjoy. In addition to aesthetics, lining a building's roof with vegetation provides many economic and environmental benefits. Green roofs increase production of oxygen and reduce storm-water runoff. They also provide natural cooling and insulation the building, resulting in energy savings.

'Smart' Landscapes

"Through selective breeding of plants, turfgrass seed producers have made significant advancements in developing cultivated grass varieties, called cultivars, that are designed to be smarter," Henriksen said.

Cultivars can better withstand the elements while being an aesthetically beautiful and healthy lawn. They are especially desirable for commercial properties in drought-prone areas. Modern cultivars also enhance the environmental benefits of commercial lawns, including the production of oxygen, while the latest strides in irrigation technology helps conserve water for commercial buildings.

These new trends are for the most part efficient and cost-effective. Green roofs and smart landscaping will pay for themselves through electricity and water savings. However, proper maintenance and planning are important to keep in mind.

"Things like weather, labor and material costs affect overall landscape installation costs. It is beneficial for both homeowners and facility maintenance professionals for commercial properties to involve their landscape professionals and contractors in the budget and planning process so informed decisions regarding budgeting can be made," Henriksen said.

Chandler Garland