Upgrading your outdoor spaces? Here are upgrades that landscape architects rate as most popular.

Front yard with flowerbeds

Walkway lighting, colorful plantings, and a tidy lawn are all features of good landscaping. And if you're selling, this kind of curb appeal can cut your home's time on the market by 10% to 15%. Image: August Landscape Design

If you’re thinking of sprucing up your yard, install what you love; but also pick upgrades that will increase your home’s value and, someday, attract buyers.

The new “2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey” by the American Society of Landscape Architects clues you in on what outdoor features are trending up:

1.  Outdoor lighting (98.3% of architects rated this as very popular): With today’s solar and LED lights, it’s a low-cost upgrade, too.

2.  Terraces, patios, and decks (97.7%): Adding any of these features is like adding another room to your home for much of the year.

3.  Low-maintenance landscaping (95.4%): Landscaping done right can add 28% to the value of your home and cut its time on the market by 10%-15%.

4.  Fire pits and fireplaces (95.4%): Building your own fire pit is an easy, low-cost DIY project.

5.  Built-in seating (89.6%): Adding built-ins to your deck or patio increases the usability of your outdoor spaces, which is like adding square footage to your home.

Other popular items include:

  • Native plants (84.5%)
  • Drip-water efficient irrigation (84.5%)
  • Water features (81.6%)

Here are some less popular landscape items. So if you’re thinking of putting them in, make sure they’re something you’ll really enjoy:

  • Geothermal-heated pools (27.2%)
  • Outdoor cooling systems (37.2%)
  • Movie/TV theaters (42.3%)
  • Shower/baths (46.8%)
  • Gazebos (48.5%)
  • Turf lawns (54%)


lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL.  Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/outdoors/outdoor-spaces/#ixzz37YfkV219