As our diverse communities, technology, materials, and construction methods evolve, they will continue to shape the design of outdoor environments. In 2024, this influence will see the transformation of our public spaces, playgrounds, and fitness parks into places that create thriving communities. By combining these trends with research-driven design and products, we unlock the potential for catalytic change within the outdoor design landscape creating places that promote healthier, stronger, and more playful communities.
Organic Waves and Bold Edges.
We foresee that the trend of undulating curves will continue to dominate in 2024. Organic arches, waves, and rounded edges will be used in the design of pathways, wayfinding signage, tables, seating, garden beds, and even playground equipment. Angular forms will also make a bold statement in the outdoor arena creating a contemporary and dynamic edge for entry statements, barbeque shelters, wayfinding, and pathways.
Swings with curved frames, climbing nets with soft lines, and statement towers with straight angles or rounded edges are some of the play pieces that you may find designed into parks. Wayfinding signage that incorporates sharp corners and waves, barbeque shelters with modern angular features, and fitness equipment with organic shapes will create striking visuals within outdoor spaces.
The fusion of organic shapes and angles will enhance a sense of place and complement the overall design of outdoor spaces. Playground equipment with a unique design will draw children to the space, however, it’s equally as important to ensure that there is ample age-appropriate play value to encourage them to stay, and entice them to return.
Circular Design: Minimising Waste & Maximising Green.
We think that this trend is here to stay, and we fully support this sustainable revolution. As we see an increase in collective consciousness around sustainability in all industries, recycled and upcycled materials will remain in the spotlight. Products that minimise waste and are made from post-consumer recycled materials will play a central role in shaping eco-friendly outdoor spaces. We predict a shift in the procurement process with an emphasis on materials that surpass typical industry standards and when the time comes for disposal, possess a high recyclability percentage. This shift reflects a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of outdoor spaces, ensuring that even at the end of their lifecycle, materials contribute to a circular economy rather than adding to landfills.
Whilst community gardens are not traditionally labelled as ‘circular design’, they do embody principles of a circular economy and sustainability. In 2024 we anticipate a growth (no pun intended..) of community gardens and local greenthumbs. Indoor plants will not be the only plants in the limelight as street gardens bloom to address sustainability concerns and counter the escalating costs of fresh produce and groceries.
Flexible, Adaptable Spaces
In 2024, there will be a heavy focus on designing inclusive outdoor spaces tailored to meet the needs of diverse communities. Parks will be transformed into dynamic landscapes that feature distinct nodes for fitness, play, social activities, and leisure. These multifunctional spaces will become catalysts for community well-being. The cornerstone of this design philosophy lies in the connectivity between these nodes, fostering seamless flow, functionality, and a sense of community. Recognising the growing prevalence of loneliness, as reported by the World Health Organisation, there will be a heavy focus on social inclusion within parks, as well as physical and mental well-being. Parks that incorporate a thoughtful design that unites people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds will be prioritised.