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Form and function come together through sustainable landscape design
Outdoor power supports a functional and sustainable outdoor experience

The top 2018 landscape trends point to an evolution toward outdoor living with recent studies showing that people are more productive when they are working, playing or studying in outdoor settings. As communities grow and city living becomes the norm, the desire for more access to public green spaces rises.


Today’s landscapes are built to bring together form and function. Improving access to outdoor activities provides physical and mental health benefits to residents in a community.


Including outdoor power solutions, like mobile USB charging stations and solar umbrellas, as a part of the landscape design plan creates environmental and economic value.

Landscape Architects

The sustainable integration of humans and nature

Sustainable Landscape Design (SLD) aims to ensure integration of humans and nature, while also achieving the sustainable development of social, economic and cultural values. Environmental sustainability must be considered during the landscape construction design and the landscape planting design phases of a project.


Including walk paths and bike trails in landscape design projects results in fewer car trips and less carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. Lining streets with trees provides cleaner air while also reducing asthma rates during the hotter summer months and helps mitigate the urban heat island effect.


Design features like community gardens increases local biodiversity and creates food sources for people, bees and some species of birds.

Outdoor power helps unite productivity and sustainability

Providing outdoor power solutions helps guests and tenants spend more time outside while staying productive with their work or studies and staying connected to friends and family with their mobile devices.

When selecting outdoor power solutions for public outdoor spaces, landscape architects should seek solutions that earn LEED points. LEED’s open space credit offers one point toward LEED certification for any outdoor spaces that “enable site users to be productive.”   

All too often, how power will be incorporated and accessed is an afterthought in outdoor space design.


When rehabilitating an existing outdoor space, or designing a new one, how outdoor power solutions will be incorporated to enhance and compliment the space should be an integral part of the site plan.


It’s important to consider how the space will be used. For example. if the space includes an outdoor dining area where people can gather to socialize, a landscape architect should include USB charging stations or solar charging umbrellas to allow people to stay charged and connected. Including in-ground electrical boxes eliminates the need to utilize temporary power solutions, like portable generators or extension cords, permitting the outdoor space to be more conducive to hosting events.


Triangulation, the concept of locating elements next to each other in a way that fosters activity, is another way to keep people productive and connected outdoors in a sustainable way. For example, installing a USB charging station next to a bus stop provides convenience to waiting passengers, while including dining tables with solar charging umbrellas, trash receptacles and a coffee or food kiosk in a space encourages visitors to stay, relax and socialize.

Outdoor power fosters outdoor activity

Sustainability, productivity and connectivity should be considered when rehabilitating existing outdoor spaces or designing new ones. Including outdoor power sources that earn LEED points, such as USB charging stations, in-ground electrical boxes or solar charging umbrellas at parks, bus stops and other outdoor locations are all ways to foster outdoor activity.


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About Legrand

Legrand is a global specialist in electrical and network infrastructure solutions. Legrand transforms spaces where people live and work and delivers access to power, light and data to millions of spaces around the world.


Legrand is an approved LA CES™ provider. Earn PDH (Professional Development Hours) through our approved LA CES™ courses. Learn more.


11 principles of placemaking http://www.placemakingchicago.com/about/principles.aspx 

Efe, Recep et al. Environmental Sustainability and Landscape Management. St. Kilment Ohridski University Press Sofia, 2016, p. 703-706.

“The Top Landscape Trends of 2018.” (Feb. 12, 2018.) Building Design + Construction. Retrieved from https://www.bdcnetwork.com/top-landscape-trends-2018