11 May Consumer demand still high for hardscapes
Hardscapes in high demand and are here to stay. Professionals looking to earn profits in residential landscape design and construction would do well to recommend fire pits, fireplaces, and permeable paving as options for their customers, according to a recent study.
[Photo above: Builder Chris Clement demonstrates how Oyster Pearl gives a civilized fireplace—complete with TV mount—an appropriately rustic look for the patio on this million dollar home near Greensboro.]
The American Society of Landscape Architecture recently released its 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, which asked its members to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor landscape elements this year. As in the past, hardscape elements were in high demand.
ASLA revised the survey this year to include new types of outdoor amenities that appeal to both single-family and multi-family owners and residents. Residential design, including single-family homes, multi-family residential projects such as apartments, townhouses and condominiums and retirement communities, is important because it is the largest market sector for landscape architects.
Because of the change, flexible outdoor spaces for such activities as yoga, outdoor movie nights and charging stations for mobile devices entered the top 10 project types for the first time.
The survey results indicate that the three most popular outdoor design elements include fire pits and fireplaces, lighting, and seating and dining areas. Drilling down into the numbers show that the top 10 project types with the highest expected consumer demand are, in order:
- Native plants
- Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants
- Low-maintenance landscapes
- Flexible use space (for yoga classes, movie night), etc.
- Drip/water-efficient irrigation
- Permeable Paving
- Rain gardens
- Reduced lawn area
- Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.)
- Charging stations for mobile devices
Hardscape designs can be included in many of the most popular projects that consumers want.
Installing a conventional clay paver patio by Pine Hall Brick Company, for example, would accomplish several design goals, including a reduced lawn area, a low-maintenance landscape and flexible use space for such things as yoga and movie nights. Installing Pine Hall Brick’s permeable paving product, StormPave, would fulfill the demand for permeable paving and the outflow underneath could be re-directed for water efficient irrigation to native and drought-resistant plants and a rain garden. Other suggestions that would also use Pine Hall Brick products involve facebrick for a seat wall for guests and an outdoor fireplace.
The benefit to professionals who decide to add hardscape design and installation is that they can bid on higher-end jobs, with a resulting higher profit margin.