Pools and spas are popular with homeowners.
Most people in the pool and spa industry know that, but a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects offers comforting reinforcement.
ASLA surveyed 179 residential landscape architects across the country, asking which outdoor elements they expected to be somewhat or very popular in 2014. Not surprisingly, the broad category of gardens and landscapes received a 94.2-percent rating. Outdoor living spaces, meaning kitchens and entertainment spaces, rated at 92 percent.
“Homeowners know that designed landscapes add value to their lives, as well as their property values,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville. “They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth-friendly.”
Most relevant for this industry, water elements scored well. Swimming pools received a rating of 73.8 percent, while “spa features” were expected to be popular by 76.4 percent of respondents. Fountains and ornamental waterfeatures scored a little better, at 83.9 percent, while ponds and streams received a 60 percent rating.
Pool/spa builders offering total backyard design and construction will take heart at the popularity of other backyard living features as well. Lighting topped the list at 98.3 percent; seating/dining areas came next at 97.7 percent; then fire pits/fireplaces third at 95.4 percent; grills came fourth at 94.3 percent, and counter space enjoyed a 75.5 percent ranking.
Sinks, outdoor heaters, showers/baths and outdoor cooling systems ranked a bit lower at, respectively, 55, 48.9, 46.8 and 37.2 percent.
Entertainment features will remain moderately in demand, respondents predicted : Stereo systems rated at 60.7 percent rating; wireless/internet connections at 56 percent; and televisions/projection screens 49.4 percent.
Not surprisingly, low-maintenance landscapes also remain on people’s minds, with a predicted popularity of 95.4 percent. People also are gravitating toward sustainable design, the survey indicated. The broad category “sustainable design practices” received a 74.2 percent rating. Native/drought tolerant plants enjoyed an 88-percent reception; permeable paving rated at 78.9 percent; and reduced lawn at 72.6 percent. Recycled materials were said to be popular by 65.1 percent of respondents.
A complete breakdown of features and categories is available.