The National Association of Landscape Professionals announces its official list of the top landscape trends of 2018. As the voice of the multibillion-dollar lawn and landscape industry, NALP annually forecasts trends that will impact landscape planning, design and maintenance within the coming year.
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP, says, “Stimulated by a healthy economy, homeowners and property managers are innovating their landscapes in fun, new ways."
In 2018, NALP predicts the following five trends to influence landscape planning and design:
Experiential landscape design.
Today’s landscapes are thoughtfully and creatively built for living, working and playing, and bring together form and function for a quality outdoor experience. More residential landscapes feature designated areas for cooking, dining, relaxing and even working outdoors, armed with fully integrated outdoor lighting and audio/visual systems for a multisensory and multiuse experience, day or night. Office landscapes more frequently include walking and bicycle paths, dining areas or gardens to enhance the employees’ experience. For both residential and commercial landscapes, the experience often begins at the entrance, with beautiful lawns, plantings and design elements that make a welcoming or wowing first impression.
Homeowners could be deciding to pay for landscaping services this year for the exact reasons listed above. Now is the time for landscaping companies to appeal to their experiential senses through advertising. The newest AudienceSCAN study found 12% of Americans plan to pay for landscaping work this year.
Unpredictable weather patterns call for landscape enhancements that withstand extreme conditions and allow spaces to be enjoyed on unseasonably cool or warm days. More landscapes are planned with the unexpected in mind, such as pergolas with retractable canopies that can protect outdoor areas in wind, rain and snow; outdoor heaters for patios on chillier nights; and hardier hardscape materials that can handle drastic temperature fluctuations.
Marketing cold-weather solutions in those specific regions could appeal to homeowners on the fence about investing in hardscape features. The latest AudienceSCAN study showed 46% of Landscaping Customers took action after seeing ads/coupons in their mailboxes in the past 30 days.
Emphasis on water management and conservation.
A buzzword for years, sustainability in landscaping is more than a trend, it influences how landscapes are created and maintained now and in the years to come. In particular, the integration of eco-friendly watering practices are expected to continue to take off in 2018, including the use of plants native to a region (which generally use less water), xeriscaping (planning a landscape to use low-water use plants), and smarter irrigation technology.
Enhanced equipment and technology.
The latest yard tools on the market consider ease of use and storage while incorporating more eco-friendly innovations. Many lawn mowers, leaf blowers and similar equipment feature low or no emissions, are battery-powered, and are quieter. Many lawn and garden tools are also designed to stack or fold to fit in the garage or shed. Professionals are also integrating more technology — mobile apps, 3D modeling and drones — into landscape planning.
Landscapers embracing the newest tech and demonstrating the best uses for it can win over "smart" customers. Show it off in newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) ads. The most recent AudienceSCAN study revealed 60% of Landscaping Customers took action after seeing ads there in the past year.
Plants in playful colors and patterns.
While the simple elegance of greenery was all the rage last year, 2018 will see a renewed interest in adding pops of color and whimsy to landscapes. With ultra violet named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design, landscape professionals expect to integrate more violets, verbena, clematis, iris and other purple flowers into landscapes. “Patterned” plants are also getting their time in the garden spotlight, as these unique plants are revered for their intricate details, such as striped leaves or brightly colored veins.
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