Multifamily Landscape/Outdoor Design Trends for 2018


Looking for the outdoor design trends that will be topping the list in 2018? The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently released a survey they conducted this year, from late February to early March with over 800 participants. The ASLA survey looked at design elements that both single-family and multifamily owners and residents would desire in a property; and if you're building or renovating a property the survey results may just shine some light on what you should do with that outdoor space.


According to the ASLA information, this year they added specific questions for the multifamily industry and here are the results for Outdoor Amenities:


74% outdoor flex space such as yoga classes or movie nights

70% charging stations

69% bike storage

57.7% kids play area

46.5% decorative water feature

45.9% bike repair station

39.1% display screen for transit information

32.1% pet spa

18.6% plunge pool


The data seems to reflect some of the rental demographic shift we'd written about previously; younger generations want spaces to gather, yet remain available via their devices – which outdoor flex space and charging stations would accomplish. The high number of survey respondents who favor bike storage options may also reflect the increase in urban rental with a reliance on bicycling as a primary or optional means of transportation. Interestingly, the plunge pool ranked at the bottom of the list, even below the pet spa – meaning that survey takers preferred options for their four-legged roomies vs their own time spent relaxing pool-side.


For Landscape/Garden Elements, survey takers overwhelmingly preferred native plants, which can be economical and lead you to lower-maintenance, hardy choices. Low-maintenance landscapes came in right behind native plants, meaning survey respondents weren't necessarily wowed by dramatic, hard-to -handle flowers and plants. Organic and rooftop gardens both had solid middle-ground support, with 59.6% and 53.4%, respectively. Formal gardens came in dead last with only 15.2%, of the vote in this category – so this may not be the ideal design direction for you, depending on your property.


The ASLA survey also included categories like Outdoor Structures and Sustainable Elements, which you can read more about by clicking the link above. The 2018 ASLA survey gives valuable insight and an interesting view into what we may see more of in the multifamily industry this coming year. If you're designing with current trends in mind, the ASLA survey provides a unique perspective to what residents might want – you might want to plan for a flexible outdoor space with plenty of charging stations, or even add a pet spa. You can even possibly save money by giving residents what they may appreciate most; low-maintenance landscaping with native plants. When building or renovating, consider the latest design trends by staying informed – and the ASLA survey brings it straight from potential renters and owners themselves.

Elizabeth Wheeler