The Hottest Outdoor Trends for 2014

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

A home’s inviting outdoor space may be just enough to get a home buyer to fall in love. The American 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 Elements

1. Gardens and landscaped spaces

2. Outdoor living spaces (kitchens, entertainment spaces)

3. Outdoor recreation amenities (pools, spas, tennis courts)

4. Sustainable design practices

Top Outdoor Living Features

1. Lighting

2. Seating/dining areas

3. Fire pits/fireplaces

4. Grills

Top Outdoor Recreation Amenities

1. Decorative water elements, such as ornamental pools, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels, or bubblers

2. Spa features (hot tub, Jacuzzi, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor sauna)

3. Swimming pools

4. Sports/recreational spaces (tennis courts, bocce ball, etc.)

Top Landscape/Garden Elements

1. Low maintenance landscapes

2. Native plants

3. Fountains/ornamental water features

4. Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards/vineyards, etc.

Top Sustainable Design Elements

1. Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants

2. Drip/water-efficient irrigation

3. Permeable paving

4. Reduced lawn

Top Outdoor Structures

1. Terraces/patios/decks

2. Fencing (includes gates)

3. Pergolas

4. Decks

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. charles

    Best part of outdoor living space is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. Click for design tips for outdoor entertaining and lighting (for safety and appearace)

  2. My neighbor put in a putting green in their backyard. Those have really come a long way in recent years. It is beautiful! They got so inspired by the turf that they later did the whole backyard. Very smart in our drought-ridden area.

  3. Outdoor Living Rooms are popular hear in Bradenton/Sarasota Florida -Everyone Dreams of A place in nature that is magical, restful and relaxing – your own vacation away from home, while still at home!

  4. Mike

    Pavilions are also a trending outdoor structure because they are bigger than gazebos and pergolas, which gives you more options for your seating, furniture and other outdoor amenities. They are open like pergolas are, but have the benefit of a roof like a gazebo. Pavilions aren’t just for parks and public places anymore.

  5. Elden Dean

    I have patio about 10×15 with no roof and am putting my house on the market soon. How could i make it look restful and relaxing. But not too costly.

    Elden Dean Realtor

  6. Ɍeally revealing….looking forward to cokming back.

  7. I could not resist сommenting. Perfectly written!

  8. I stumbled on this post in 2017 and it is amazing how many of the 2014 top hits are still valid!