Trends in Landscape Architecture

By Josh Orth & Scott Curry, Norris Design

Landscape architecture continues to evolve through better stewardship of our resources, technology and innovative ideas. The list below represents some of the trends that Norris Design is seeing and implementing.

Operating Costs – Consideration of economic sustainability is more visible in landscape design. Relationships are forged early between suppliers, designers, contractors, and owners to create cost models that better represent installation and long-term maintenance costs. Advancing technologies such as smart controllers, BIM (Building Information Modeling), and asset and management tracking software function as the tools that build accountability into this system, thus ensuring cost projections are sustained beyond installation.

Water Conservation – Landscape architects have long been on the forefront of creating regionally appropriate designs, which seek to reduce water use in the landscape. Setting water-use goals earlier and recognizing the dynamics of water management in an establishing system help reduce development costs (tap fees and sizing).

Green Roofs – In Denver this trend is now mandatory and will require fine tuning of the policies. Landscape architects are more engaged with multiple trades when collaborating on over-structure amenities. This is a driver for producing BIM-compatible deliverables. The Green Roof Initiative will also lead to new trends within the nursery industry to supply the growing number of green roofs and to deliver plant material well-adapted to the conditions of a green roof.

Communication – Emerging technologies are becoming more commonplace. This allows for improved collaboration with the entire team. There are a variety of programs that build relationships between contractors, suppliers, designers, and stakeholders. Leveraging the technology allows the entire team to understand costs, inventories and expectations, predict trends, and proactively identify barriers that can limit success of a project. Representing a design more clearly before it is built also adds value to the client-designer relationship. Three-dimensional visualizations (fly-throughs, photo simulations, 3D models) demonstrate what to expect at various project stages and give a better understanding of the overall vision.

Urban Agriculture – More focus is placed on activating all parts of a property. Adding agricultural elements, coupled with educational components, provides huge value to spaces by expanding the available amenities. Structuring a plan around working farms, using container or community gardens, providing rotating pasture lands, and developing plant and seed palettes that are productive for pollinators create more social awareness for farm-to-table programs and strong connections between our food and how it fits into land development.

About the contributor: Josh Orth (top) and Scott Curry work for Norris Design, a global leader in landscape architecture, planning and branding. Josh is a landscape architect involved with a variety of projects from concept through final closeout. He incorporates innovative approaches with conventional processes to yield sustainable, higher quality landscape solutions. Scott is a landscape designer who focuses on construction administration and irrigation design for a multitude of different project types and sizes. He is passionate about the built environment, water resource management and creating high quality, usable spaces for the public to enjoy for generations.