There’s no doubt about it: Backyards have become the new hangout spot.
And this simple truth has led many homeowners to reevaluate their current outdoor living situations.
Are you considering a revamp but you’re not sure where to start?
Here, Joseph Richardson, NoVA-based landscape architect and founder of Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture, breaks down the latest trends in backyard design.
Bringing the Inside Out
More than ever before, homeowners are blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living by working with architects or builders to develop interior floor plans that respond to spaces surrounding the home.
One example of this would be connecting indoor spaces such as a dining room or kitchen with an exterior patio, terrace, or garden.
“This is definitely a trend that has evolved over time,” says Richardson. “It has become a sort of expectation at this point and a regular topic of conversation when our clients come to talk with us.”
Another way clients are doing this is through a designed view from indoor offices or bedrooms, Richardson notes.
For example, they may want a focal point in the garden such as a sculpture, bird bath, or a flowering tree.
“Views are a way to link spaces,” says Richardson. “And many people are working from home now, therefore that view from the office has become a lot more important.”
Emphasis on Eco-Friendly
There has also been a noticeable surge in clients that are more eco-friendly or environmentally conscious, Richardson says.
The use of pollinators and other species to attract wildlife to the yard has become a focus of many clients.
“We have had a lot more requests for native plant species to minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides as well,” he explains.
Once established, native species require little to no irrigation.
“Composting and organic gardening have also become quite popular in recent years as well,” he says.
Another trend that has taken off recently is the addition of pet-friendly areas within your outdoor landscape.
With more people spending time at home and the rise in pet adoptions during the pandemic, Richardson says they have been designing more spaces exclusively for pets.
“One of the more popular trends right now is a dog run, which is essentially a fenced portion of the property used sole by their dogs for play,” he says.
This trend can also include small areas of artificial turf or gravel to be used by dogs to relieve themselves without destroying the grass or spaces the homeowners spent money to develop.
“Both can be easily maintained, and this is a great technique to keep lawns healthy and safe for children to play,” Richardson says.
While creating privacy isn’t exactly a new trend, it is something that has been on people’s minds as they begin to spend more time outdoors while they’re at home.
“It kind of goes along with blurring the lines and creating views in that in the inverse, you may also be trying to block views so when you’re sitting outside, you don’t feel quite as exposed,” says Richardson.
This could be as simple as planting an evergreen tree or even a wall of greenery, he adds.
Megan Herr is an editor and writer residing in the Shenandoah Valley. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Penn State University.
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