Every year, the Belgard Commercial team looks forward to participating in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Annual Meeting and Expo to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry and anticipate the constantly evolving needs of industry professionals. This year’s expo was held in Philadelphia and offered a wealth of information on emerging trends and new technologies. Below are some of the team’s key learnings from the show.
COMMERCIAL HARDSCAPE TRENDS
The Belgard booth showcased a variety of product lines, and interaction with booth visitors provided the following insights.
- Designers liked the design flexibility of the Moduline Series® in that it offers multiple face textures, a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and a plethora of colors—allowing a great deal of flexibility for creating unique and visually interesting hardscape designs.
- Permeable pavers continue to grow in popularity as a best management practice (BMP) for Low Impact Development, stormwater management and site optimization.
- The Mirage® Porcelain Paver line drew a great deal of interest for the striking look of the various styles and the line’s ability to address multiple design trends including large format sizes, plank shapes, monochromatic color schemes, indoor/outdoor flow and natural stone alternatives.
- Industry professionals are seeking design solutions for rooftop terrace and plaza applications and took a great deal of interest in the Westile® line of wood and concrete rooftop pavers. They were also intrigued by the design versatility of the coordinating line of cubes for creating seating and planters.
COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE TRENDS
The two biggest industry trends noted from this year’s show were:
- Community-driven design: A major movement in the commercial development industry is that of live-work-play communities that promote a higher level of sustainability and offer community spaces that promote outdoor exercise. Booth attendees learned about how Belgard permeable pavers can benefit these types of developments to increase the amount of area available for development and manage stormwater, as well as work in conjunction with water harvesting systems—like the PermeCapture™ System—to recycle rainwater for graywater use.
- Climate-responsive design: The industry continues to look for ways to combat the increased incidence of flooding resulting from overburdened stormwater systems, as well as the hotter microclimates created by the “heat island effect” of dark pavements in urban markets. Booth attendees learned about available pavers that offer a reflective index to reduce the absorption of heat into pavements, as well as various permeable pavement and retaining wall solutions for managing stormwater.
DESIGN SOLUTIONS SERVICES
Many landscape architects came to the Belgard booth with specific projects in mind, looking for design solutions to those projects. Topics included aesthetics, soil stabilization, load specifications, low-impact development, stormwater management and site optimization. In addition to receiving consultation in the booth, attendees learned about the regionally-specific Site Solutions Guide that Belgard provides, as well as personalized design consultation services that can be provided as needed.
Many attendees are drawn to the ASLA show for the plethora of Continuing Education opportunities on a wide variety of topics. In addition to taking advantage of this opportunity, booth attendees were also pleased to learn about the variety of free online CEU courses and personalized Lunch & Learn classes offered by Belgard Commercial. The team also took note of hot topics for the development of future courses.