Now that 2020 is squarely in the rearview mirror, it’s time to recognize its impact on how people want to experience their outdoor environment. One certainty is that we all have a greater appreciation for it.
Outdoor living transformed our lives the past year. We were advised to quarantine, to stay in our homes and away from other human beings until the risks of the pandemic were fully understood.
This made stepping outdoors an experience that triggered a flood of emotions, depending upon where and how you lived. Take anything away from people and they want it more, no matter the cost.
These feelings and the time we had to sort through them changed us. Our connection with nature suddenly intensified. So did the desire to engage in activities associated with it.
We made new plans. Some learned to exercise indoors, a practice that is sure to continue long after our lives are normalized. The greatest outcome for most people is clarity for how they want to live.
#1. Simplicity and Beauty
Interest in simplicity is trending as people discover the freedom of less is more. An example of this is the renewed interest in open concept styles, such as midcentury modern homes. The clean lines and open spaces with views to the outdoors take your breath away.
The skillful integration of interior and exterior spaces is the ultimate open concept expression. Landscape architects and designers know the power of these designs lie within the design elements, lines, colors, patterns, and how they are sequenced and repeated.
Details are still important but only when used powerfully, with intention and purposefulness.
#2. Connected Outdoor Spaces
One way to create that emphasis is by repeating design patterns and continuing materials between indoor and outdoor spaces. This is more easily accomplished in warmer climates where indoor spaces can be predominantly open.
More durable modern materials make this possible here in Minnesota and other seasonal climates. Stone and manufactured paving materials are one example, and so are identical or similar indoor and outdoor plantings.
At least during the summer months, it’s possible to have tropical plants thriving within and just outside the home.
#3. Transitions Between Spaces
If you are going to embrace an open concept style, you have to respect the transitions between spaces.
One of the most important problems professional designers solve is working out transitions, especially between indoor and outdoor spaces.
It’s important to have clear transitions for flow and safety. Awkward transitions from one space to another can be confusing and cause preventable accidents. This is why villages and other municipalities have codes that provide guidance for the use of steps and railings.
Seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces that work best employ design elements that signal the transition in advance. Lighting, changes in flooring materials, or anything else that provides a visual or tactile cue or pause is an intentional design that signals transitions.
It’s pleasing to the senses when the flow throughout spaces makes sense, informing people when to slow down or how to advance to what may be a surprisingly spectacular view.
#4. Flexible Lighting Options
As technology makes the extraordinary possible, people want to have it. Think of flexible lighting as more than an on and off switch or a dimmer.
Nowadays, outdoor lighting can be designed to illuminate spaces differently to achieve specific outcomes. Dimming can be used to minimize a space’s use or to create more intimacy.
Lighting and sound tend to go hand in hand. Greater or lesser intensity should be varied to accommodate the audience and their activities. If there are spaces within a larger space, more options will better accommodate complementary activities, such as safe play for children and quiet relaxation for supervising adults.
#5. Outdoor Kitchens and Dining
Regardless of the budget, the one activity that most outdoor living spaces share is outdoor cooking and dining.
The greatest trend is giving people exactly what they want most. While outdoor grills will never go out of style, accompanying them with smokers and pizza ovens raises the utility of that space.
Bluetooth technology is giving homeowners great control over their outdoor kitchens and entertainment spaces, but the specificity rule still applies. While big screens for sporting events and other broadcasting are popular, many people report they are seldom used.
#6. Modern Pools, Spas, and Water Features
Water may be the perfect element for connecting indoor and outdoor spaces because it belongs to both. The mention of water features often brings to mind its splashier versions, swimming pool, spas, and waterfalls, but there’s more to it than that.
Landscape architect Thomas Church is best known for the California Style of outdoor living that features the integration of outdoor and indoor rooms. Church’s iconic freeform pool designs that organically merge with the surrounding landscape are peaceful reflections of nature as much as they are swimming pools.
While most of us do not have expansive properties with which to emulate Church’s designs, his influence can and will nevertheless be seen in 2021 landscape design trends if you look closely.
#7. Organic Edible Gardens
An edible garden can be a lot of work and that’s part of the fun for those that enjoy them the most. Even if your outdoor space is limited you can still enjoy the joys of fresh herbs such as basil, dill, cilantro, and chives.
The labor and care are minimal and so is the financial investment. Yet, the payback is plentiful as you enjoy their fresh, earthy fragrance and flavors with seafood, salads, and other vegetable dishes. Smoothies too!
#8. Robotic Mowing
Robotic mowing is expected to revolutionize landscape maintenance as we know it. It promises to minimize or eliminate common lawn care problems, including air and noise pollution, scheduling challenges, and equipment hassles.
Robotic mowers are battery-powered computers that can be automated to work on any schedule. This gives them a number of benefits over traditional mowers.
In addition to the obvious labor-saving features, robotic mowers are safer, quieter, and therefore, a greener solution to residential lawn care.
During early spring when moisture is abundant they can be set to mow daily or nightly. Their whisper-quiet motors make them barely audible. It’s micro-sized grass clippings return valuable organic matter and useful elements like nitrogen back to the soil.
Why else is robotic mowing a top 2021 trend? In a word: Safety.
Anyone who has used a traditional lawnmower knows they demand your respect. These heavy machines have powerful engines that contain flammable fuel and oils and get extremely hot during operation.
It turns out robotic lawnmowers are built with a vastly different technology that reduces the risk of injury. They have collision, tilt, and lift sensors that signal the mower to stop the blades in a fraction of a second should their normal balance be upset.
In addition to that, their actions are easily managed from an app on your mobile device.
Plan Ahead For The Trends
Landscape planning is more than design. More important than the blueprint for building the landscape is the process of sorting through spaces and how they will be used.
When you consider what you want to see, hear, and feel within a space you are more likely to realize a better possibility for you and everyone concerned. To that end, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to share the same privacy goals and agree to share costs for creating that solution.
Architectural Landscape Design, Inc. specializes in creating outdoor living spaces. If you need ideas or have a vision and want help fulfilling that vision, our team can help turn your property into a private oasis for your entire family to enjoy.