Greater interest in ecological conservation amongst consumers and growing environmental consciousness of industry leaders - coupled with rapidly increasing technology - has been the driving force behind recent trends in landscape construction, as well as industries across the board. As we step into 2017, here are some predictions of what you can expect to see more of this year in Newport Beach and surrounding areas as these trends continue along their projected course.
Emphasis on local materials
Local means lower transportation costs, reduced carbon footprint and supporting the local economy. Buying local is also a good way of ensuring that your materials are sourced from a supply chain that does not make use of exploitative labor practices. It’s no wonder that more and more homeowners are insisting on locally sourced or manufactured landscape construction materials. Such materials may include natural stone sourced from a quarry nearby, concrete products manufactured in the area or lumber sourced from a sawmill in-state. Although not always less expensive than other sources, the humanitarian, ecological and bigger picture economics make it something worth looking into. As more and more people look towards doing their bit for the environment, this trend is set to continue into 2017.
AI technology and algorithmic systems saw a meteoric rise to fame in 2016 with some unprecedented victories over human strategic thinking in the form of one AI beating the world Go champion and another emerging triumphant after a 20 day poker tournament. These advancements are set to disrupt industry in a big way in the near future and we can expect this to filter into landscape construction as well. With smarter irrigation systems, more efficient solar power systems for landscape lighting, automatic outdoor lighting systems, smart pool systems and increased accessibility to technological comforts in outdoor spaces, coupled with remote access via smart phones and tablets, this trend is making outdoor living look more and more like science fiction.
Ecologically friendly materials and methods
2017 is set to see an increased demand for ecologically friendly materials and methods from consumers. This includes recycled material, such as recycled glass and concrete countertops for outdoor kitchens, eco-friendly permeable pavers that contribute to the natural water cycle, as well as lumber from sustainable sources. Better methods are also key for better landscaping - improved drainage and irrigation for saving water, non-chemical fumigation and natural fertilization techniques.
In conjunction with (and perhaps as a counterpoint to) more advanced methods, materials and technological systems, we expect to see a continued return to simple, natural aesthetic tastes. Cottage and rustic designs will likely remain favorites, but modern design styles may also see a softening of aesthetic with an emphasis on rich texture and natural materials as opposed to the starkness of more artificial materials such as plastic and chrome. Lawn and patio furniture is likely to follow suit with an emphasis on older, earthy look and reclaimed or upcycled pieces.
Reducing the need for water
Better, smarter irrigation is one way to decrease a landscape’s water consumption, however more and more homeowners and businesses are opting to tackle the problem at its root - by removing plants that over-consume water from their landscapes. Low maintenance plants with little need for water, such as succulents and indigenous plants, are ideal for this. Reducing lawn space with the use of artificial lawns, gravel, paving, woodchips or other grass substitutes is another excellent option for saving money and helping conserve one of earth’s most precious commodities.