2024 Landscape Trends From The National Association Of Landscape Professionals

Event and wellness spaces, vivid colors, and renovations that work with existing elements are expected.


What will be the 2024 landscape trends in residential design? Here’s what members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) said they expect for the coming year.

1. Expanded Outdoor Living Elements

Outdoor living spaces continue to be incredibly desirable to clients, but the elements which comprise that outdoor living space is expanding to include event spaces, vegetable gardens, wellness activities, and areas of artificial turf.

“I would say the trend has continued that people want to maximize their property and bring their living outside even now that is COVID over,” says Chris di Stefano, president of di Stefano Landscaping, based in Essex Junction, VT. “We’re … using the same materials, [but] putting them together in a different way and creating new ideas.”

Kitchens & Applicances. In di Stefano’s region, clients are seeking features like outdoor kitchens, pergolas, fire pits, and gathering spaces beyond the traditional patio. He says while outdoor kitchens were once exclusive to larger, more involved landscapes, today’s smaller project clients are also incorporating them.

Bob Hursthouse, president of Hursthouse Landscape Architects, based in Bolingbrook, IL, says he’s seeing a continuation of being at home and customers revitalizing their environments. He says pool and spa combinations remain super-popular and his company is also seeing a lot of interest in outdoor kitchens and appliances like pizza ovens.

2024 Landscape Trends
Photo: Hursthouse Landscape Architects

“We’re still contracting and designing lots of those outdoor living spaces, roofed structures,” Hursthouse says. “We’re getting tons of requests for things like that. They’re expensive, so they’re not being executed quite as quickly, but we’re getting tons of requests for them.”

Vegetable gardens. Randy Hill, director of sales for David J. Frank Landscape Contracting, based in Germantown, WI, says outdoor living and gathering spaces continue to be most popular request, yet they’ve seen an increased interest in spaces for vegetable gardens as well.

Event spaces. One trend Adam Hallauer, CEO & president of Designs By Sundown, based in Littleton, CO, has noted is homeowners planning long-term for their landscapes to host events such as weddings, graduations, or family reunions. He isn’t sure if this is driven by challenges in event spaces presented by COVID or simply a desire for more of a family “feel” at gatherings.

“They’re dedicating spaces that they won’t use but every once in a while, but they’re putting into plans now for those kinds of spaces,” Hallauer says.

Wellness. Joe Stark, director of marketing for GW Capital, the parent company of Ground Works Land Design, based in Cleveland, OH has noticed an interest in health and wellness features being added to the landscape, such as meditation areas or spaces to do yoga. He says they’ve even had a couple of requests to add cold plunge areas.

Greg Struhl, owner of Chip-N-Dale’s Custom Landscaping, Inc., based in Las Vegas, NV, is seeing a similar trend. He says he’s had clients interested in installing healing gardens to help with stress and anxiety.

2024 landscape trends
Photo: Chip-N-Dale’s Custom Landscaping, Inc.

Artificial grass. Struhl’s also had an uptick in requests to replace turfgrass with synthetic turf since the local water authority in his region has started to fine people for excessive use of water.

Claire Goldman, principal and head of design and business development for R&R Landscaping, based in Auburn, AL, says she’s also seen more clients embrace synthetic turf in spaces like putting greens, areas too shady to grow sod, or low-maintenance play spaces.

2. Renovating Aging Landscapes  

Another trend some regions are seeing is a focus on renovating existing outdoor living spaces. Struhl says communities in Las Vegas are aging and he’s having to redo landscapes that were poorly installed 20 to 25 years ago.

“There’s really no Band-Aid to it,” Struhl says. “They’re multi-million homes and they need a lot of a lot of work because when they were done initially, people didn’t get a professional. They just got somebody who could do it for a good price. Now they’re going to pay the price because that always costs more to redo things.”

Hursthouse says we are entering an interesting time as a number of landscapes constructed in the 80’s are beginning to deteriorate. “I think there’s a bit of a renaissance back to classic construction techniques,” Hursthouse says. “We do a lot of that, and our clients appreciate the longevity that our projects bring to them because of that.”

Hallauer adds that when the economy turns, more people stay put and decide to reinvest in their properties. “I do anticipate this going back to more of a renovation market, updating their current spaces, making it more livable to their current lifestyle and needs,” he says.

3. Color Craze

While some design sites are claiming dark, moody plants will be all the rage next year, these landscape companies are getting the opposite request. “If anything, our clients are always asking for more color, because they want more than just the green [due to] so much shade from the massive oak trees around here [in Cleveland],” Stark says. Hill is in agreement. He says plants with bold leaf colors, texture, and large blooms are highly desired these days.

“I think there’s a lot of gravitation towards good perennial mixes, seasonal blooms, and seasonal progressions,” comments Hursthouse. “I have a lot of clients that like bright colors and bright textures—whether that’d be a flower or foliage or a fruit or all the above. I’m seeing clients requesting a lot of bright colors together.”

Goldman says people in Alabama have been painting their houses darker colors, so they opt to contrast the walls with lighter plant material that won’t get lost against  the dark paint.

Di Stefano says he sees bigger blocks of color and texture being popular. “Even people that want a lot of variety, I think, are wanting to see that variety in maybe a more limited color scheme, and more limited texture scheme or using bigger blocks of plantings to achieve that rather than a lot of sort of more traditional kind of groupings of planting,” he says.

In the Southwest, Struhl says cooler colors like blue, silver, and gray are quite popular. He says rather than fighting Mother Nature, he selects plants that are more likely to thrive in his area, like iceberg roses.

4. Low Maintenance Plants

In Illinois, Hursthouse says he’s seeing a lot of pushback against hydrangeas where clients don’t want any iteration of the species in their landscape. Yet Hallauer’s customer base in Colorado is demanding hydrangeas and boxwoods despite the high warranty costs.

Vintage Jade Distylium from First Editions. Zones 7-9.

The desire for low-maintenance plants remains strong with customers. “Most clients are looking for plants that can be installed and left alone and thrive, so any plant that’s successful with neglect typically catches on quickly,” Goldman says. “We’ve had fun using the different textures of distylium and knowing we don’t have to worry much about the warranty with that one.”

Hill agrees their clients are looking for plants that need little watering or pruning. “They like color, texture, and blooms that require little work to get them to that point,” he says. “Clients who don’t have time to do yardwork want plants that stay small or are easily manageable with one pruning a year.”

5. Working With The Land

Stark expects to see more clients who want to work with their existing landscape rather than start with a completely blank canvas. “In the past, you may see us completely excavate and clear an entire backyard to make a project exactly what the person wants,” Stark says. “Some of the most recent projects we’ve done and some of the most beautiful, final projects that we’ve done are these gorgeous projects where we’re working within the actual topography and environment. Instead of just clearing out a bunch of trees and making it a blank slate, we’re working within the existing backyard.”

Goldman says they’ve seen less demand in clear-cutting lots and working with the natural landscape as well. “We’ve also seen properties wanting to start building ‘natural’ back in,” she says. “That’s a fun challenge. There’s an art to building ‘natural’ that takes a special eye and expertise. Those have been my favorite projects.”

Odom is the content manager for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). Find the original version of this article in the NALP Blog.

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