9 Emerging Trends in Landscape Architecture for Public Spaces



landscape architecture public spaces

Landscape Architecture – 9 trends for public spaces

Landscape architecture helps to define outdoor spaces, making them not only more user friendly and accessible, but also more aesthetically pleasing as well. More public spaces from city bus stops to waterfront parks are taking the time to hire landscape architects to help them make the most of their surroundings, catering to visitors and viewers alike. Check out these 9 landscape architecture trends for public spaces to help give you an idea of what may be possible for your space.

1. Waterfront Park

landscape architecture public spaces
Architect: Thomas Balsley Associates, WEISS/MANFREDI

Waterfront establishments get a lot of attention with visitors, patrons and workers all wanting to get a glimpse of the view. That may be why one of the latest trends in architectural landscaping is to include built in seating within the boardwalks and landings for guests to have a chance to sit and enjoy the sights

Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park New York, a multiple award winning landscape project by Weiss/Manfredi and Thomas Balsley Associates, uses not only an elevated boardwalk, but interesting benches made of the same material. They add a cohesive element to the design of the space, while at the same time drawing the eye to the stunning New York City skyline.

2. Natural Pool

landscape architecture public spaces
Photo by: @naturschwimmnadschoellkrippen

There is something about nature that often draws people near. This natural pool in Murg, Germany, lets people get right up close and personal by extending wooden boardwalks and paths around its edge and right out over the water itself. This allows anyone to get a better appreciation of the space and to make better use of the pool as a whole.

This unique and sustainable pool uses biological water treatment and solar heat. The modified wood walkways complement this ecological approach as well with their non-toxic and sustainable materials.

3. Sculptural Seating

landscape architecture public spaces
Architect: Urban Elements Photo by: Simon Meyer

Giving people a place to sit and relax doesn’t mean that you need to adhere to an ordinary bench design. This oversized park bench, made by Danish firm Urban Elements, defines the entire area with its sculptural lines and edges, inviting people in for a closer look.

The modified wood this park bench is made of softens its harsh edges, making the bench appear more at one with its surroundings than something that was added to the area.

4. Colorful Shelter

colorful shelter
TYIN Tegnestue Photo by: Pasi Aalto

Cities, play grounds and schools everywhere have been hiring landscape architects to help create unique and interesting shelters of all kinds. Shelters at bus stations, play grounds and other areas offer shade, a place to rest, as well as a place to gather.

These unique kids’ shelters, by TYIN Tegnestue architects, at a bus station are painted bold colors on the inside, a fun and creative design element for a structure intended for children. The exterior is left bare wood to help the shelters blend better with the natural environment. The area also features a pavement with permeable pavers for eco-friendly drainage and water run off management.

5. Beach Shelter

beach shelter
Architect: Millimetre

Another area that can make great use of a shelter on a sunny day is the beach. These architectural shelters create a unique optical illusion, making you wonder where the outside ends and the interior begins.

The wide-open spaces within the shelter allow for plenty of light to filter in, as well as plenty of views of the ocean and beach beyond. The rustic wood, the shelters are made from, helps complement the area by calling to mind the look of driftwood. Design by English firm Millimetre.

6. Waterfront Seating

waterfront seating
Architect: Goose Foot & Freshwest Design Photo by: Goose Foot

Sometimes less is more when it comes to the architecture design of a landscape. In this case, it’s the seating that makes the biggest impact in the area. Goose Foot and Freshwest Design introduced this modern seating on the promenade at Colwyn Bay as part of the Waterfront Regeneration project in Wales.

Poised at the edge of a waterfront where people will naturally want to gather, these unique benches offer opportunities for people to sit and relax in a number of ways. The benches are all made of the same modified wood to help withstand the moisture and salt in the sea air. The shapes are designed not only to draw the eye, but to enhance comfort and promote gatherings of different types.

7. Beach Walks

landscape architecture public spaces
Architect: Architect: de+ architekten Photo by: Mike Haran

Sometimes the most important part of landscape architecture is to bring people to their destination. These wooden beach walkways serve both as roads for fisherman and other local workers, but also as protected pathways that can bring people down to the beach without disturbing the sand, dunes, or vegetation on either side.

The wooden walkways complement the area perfectly with their weathered surface, helping to get people into the right frame of mind for their destination as they arrive there. A beautiful landscape project by de+ architekten on the island Usedom, Germany.

8. Harbor Pools

landscape architecture public spaces
Architect: LPO Arkitekter Photo by: Nils Petter Dale

One goal of landscape architecture is to invite people in to interact with their environment. And that is precisely what has been accomplished with this harbor pool designed by LPO Arkitekter.

Centrally located within the city center of Oslo, with a recreational park nearby, this Sørenga harbor pool includes not only the deck, but also separate swimming pools and a float. The deck furniture is built right into the deck itself, encouraging better use of the entire area and inviting people in for a more interactive experience.

9. Boardwalks

landscape architecture public spaces
Architect: Pine River Group

There’s something about water and beaches that just pulls people in, with thousands flocking to beachfront areas every year. So what better way to help protect those beaches while giving people a means of congregating than to provide them with a boardwalk?

This wooden walkway and boardwalk in Bethany Beach, Delaware, keeps people off of dunes and other sensitive areas, while directing them to nearby shops and attractions. The wood stays cooler underfoot than many other decking materials – not to mention the sand – which invites people in to get more comfortable with the area and to increase their enjoyment at the same time.

Make Use of Landscape Architecture Trends

Landscape architecture is a growing field with more public spaces beginning to see the benefits of shaping the spaces around them. Whether you’re an established destination hotspot or perhaps hoping to become one, designing the area around you to complement the natural environment and offer function and comfort to those using the space can greatly work to your advantage. Make the most of your landscaping with some of these landscape architecture trends to evoke the best outcome your area has to offer.

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