For most homeowners, a backyard can become one of their favorite places, an oasis away from the daily grind. Beautifully designed backyard landscaping provides a place to relax, entertain, spend time with family, dine, and to play with the family dog. Over the past 3+ decades, we’ve witnessed our share of slight changes in landscaping trends. However the truth remains that people love their backyards and are always looking for a way to improve their oasis.
A recent study done by Houzz showed some great insights into just how homeowners feel about their landscaping and outdoor living spaces. I thought I would summarize the study and comment. For the full study, it can be found on their website.
Backyard Landscaping Trends of 2016
People spend a lot of time outside. Over 50% of people stated that they spend 6 or more hours a week enjoying their backyard landscaping. In fact, 25% spend over 10 hours each week there. That’s like spending an entire workday of your week out in your backyard! I personally would love to work from my paver patio with a laptop than come to the office!
People are doing some major work to their outdoor living spaces. Over 60% of homeowners perform outdoor renovations in their backyard. These projects are substantial, with 87% of them being significant to completely overhauling their backyard. Vacations are becoming stay-cations for some people. Instead of spending all that money for renting a beach house this summer, why not invest it in a new landscaping project and enjoy it all year, not just for one week?!
The main reasons for backyard landscaping projects vary. The front runner is that these projects often occur to renovate the recent purchase of a home, a lot being from deteriorated features such as crumbling patios, dilapidated decks, or overgrown shrubbery. That’s one of the first improvements I made to our home when we purchased it. Only 2 trees remained and I tore out all the broken, ugly shrubs, and gave it a look that is unlike my neighbors’. A good portion of projects also come from a desire to change backyard landscaping spaces or because family changes have happened. Maybe the kiddos are done toddling and now need a nice place to play while you watch them from your new patio?
Three in five homeowners use a landscaping company for these projects. Wisely, most people understand the value of using a landscaping contractor and landscape designer to perform the heavy lifting and careful planning that hardscaping, landscape lighting, and planting requires. Minor projects are sometimes tackled by the homeowner but most people understand that it’s worth finding a landscaping company to execute the task. Sure you could get some things done cheaper yourself than hiring a pro, but how does that usually work out for you? I personally have made a rule that nothing over 3 electrical wires gets touched by me. I learned that lesson the hard way!
Two thirds of landscaping projects come in at over $10,000. While there are a lot of smaller landscaping projects getting completed, the ones using a pro seem to be the larger projects. Building patios, outdoor kitchens, walkways, and planting a whole backyard can take a lot of time and special equipment. It’s not unheard of to have a project such as this take a week or more and the superior products that pros use can run a little bit more than stuff you’ll find at your local garden center. However, using quality materials installed by a certified landscaping contractor can help you get more value for your dollar.
People want functional, personalized, and stylish backyard landscaping.Homeowners want their properties to reflect who they are and be usable for their family and guests, all while wowing them with a gorgeous landscape design. A professionally designed landscape will add value to your property and also increase resale value over DIY efforts that could end up detracting from the value.
Homeowners want backyard landscaping to be easy. Easy maintenance, entertaining with ease, privacy being created with ease, easy to BBQ, easy to work, play, or be in…that’s what everyone wants. No one wants a backyard that becomes a chore to maintain. They want something that require minimal effort. That comes with careful planning and lots of experience with both landscape design and landscape maintenance. A good landscaping company does both and knows that planting that one shrub over another could save you hours of work each year. These spaces should be about relaxing, not painfully working on your time off.
Additional outdoor living purchases reflect relaxation as the main function. The majority of items purchased are things to sit and lay on. While grilling and eating remain at a close second, people love just relaxing and socializing in their backyard. We work hard all week, why not take a load off when we get home?
Landscape Lighting is the main update to outdoor systems and equipment that people make to their backyard landscaping. LED (28%), solar (23%), and other (17%) landscape lighting provides additional usage of outdoor living spaces. This lighting not only allows for safer movement at night, but it can enhance the mood and feel of your backyard and accentuate plants or architectural elements in your landscape design that would otherwise be missed in the dark.
Most backyard landscaping projects give attention to landscape plants in some manner. Beautifully planted beds and borders can help tie the whole project together and give you multi-season interest. An experienced landscape designer knows how to accomplish this. 92% of homeowners indicated that they planted perennials, shrubs, trees, and other plants in their projects. Most of them desired plants that flower and were low maintenance. There’s something flowering or some bright fruit or leaves for almost 9 months out of the year in my landscape. I love that color!
Patios, terraces, pergolas, or trellises are the main outdoor structures people love to change. Whether you are a fan of pavers, flagstone, cedar, or PVC, construction doesn’t stop where your house’s walls stop. Outdoor structures can extend and attach to your home to give you even more functional square footage.
Natural Stone Flagstone remains the primary source for upgrades of surfaces other than decks. If you have a ground level surface, consider using natural stone flagstone for your patio. You may be pleasantly surprised at the value, durability, and even the cost of pavers versus traditional decking. However, if your space is elevated, you will be among those who choose pressure-treated lumber or composites. Personally, when I went to replace my ugly deck, I was surprised that for my project, putting in a simple paver patio was very close in price to a new PVC composite deck. Plus, it looks so much nicer.
No matter your motivation, specific style, or intended use, we love the variety that is landscaping! If you have a project like the majority of those in this survey, or if you having something special in mind, we would love to talk to you and become your landscaping company. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!