Home outdoor space trends for 2020 have kids, pets and wildlife in mind
This year, homeowners looking to redesign their outdoor spaces will be doing it with kids, pets and wildlife in mind. They also are interested in having functional front yards they can sit in and enjoy, plants that don’t guzzle water and quiet corners for chilling out.
Yardzen, a North Bay-based online landscape design platform, analyzed data from 12,000 design profiles completed on their website and cross-checked their findings with other sources such as the American Institute of Home Design Trends Survey and Architectural Digest, to determine the top trends for 2020.
Some of the findings? People want their own “Zen Dens” for quiet relaxation, “Playscapes” for the kids, “Petscapes” for pets, full-on furnishings for their outdoors to
rival anything inside and fire pits that give the feeling of camping in their own backyards.
They’re also favoring permeable hardscapes like decomposed granite and plantings that are both water efficient and provide habitat for birds and insects. They’re engaging in “conscious construction” that makes use of existing features to reduce waste.
The findings reflect a continuing shift toward landscapes that are more environmentally sustainable than the big sprinkler-fed lawns edged with showy border plants that were the norm for so many decades.
An “extraordinarily high number” of people who filled out online profiles on the Yardzen website are interested in having more natural landscapes, a trend Pinterest users are calling “re-wilding.”
“It’s a term that applies to taking the residential landscape and turning it back to a natural landscape with native plants and pollinator plants,” said Allison Messner, who co-founded the company with her husband, Adam. “There is this general sense that we all need to be doing something to get ourselves out of this predicament with climate change. This feels like something people can do.”
The Messners dreamed up the concept for an online landscape design service two years ago after the Tubb’s fire ripped through their weekend property in Knight’s Valley, torching their new landscape but fortunately bypassing the home.
The couple began researching design services to make a plan to replace what was lost. The cost of professional plans was daunting.
So they created a way to offer custom design services online, using professional landscape designers and architects around the country, 3D modeling software, satellite imagery, plant and data science and good old cellphones to bring down the cost to about $1,500 for a complete landscape plan.
They now have about 40 designers with degrees in landscape architecture who will draw up custom plans.
Now, at the dawn of a new decade, these are the top trends:
Conscious construction. Homeowners want to do their part to cut down on the 569 million tons of construction and demolition debris generated each year. Messner said 93% of respondents said they want to retain some existing elements in their yards, from decks and mature trees to fences, by working around them, moving them or re-purposing them. She pointed to a Marin couple who considered scrapping their old Jacuzzi for an in-ground hot tub but opted instead to enclose their old tub with a new wooden deck so it feels like an in-ground spa.
Re-wilding. Natural landscapes that incorporate plants and trees native or well-adapted to the climate are now going mainstream; 91% of survey takers said they want plants that draw bees and butterflies, and 76% want native or climate-adapted plants in their yards. These environmentally sensible landscapes tend to require less water and maintenance.
The new garden. Annual household spending on gardening increased from $400 to $503 in 2019, according to industry research analysts, a trend driven primarily by young adults aged 23-38, who comprise nearly a third of all gardening households.
“Gardening (today) looks a bit different than my own gardening when I was a kid,” Messner said. “A lot of people are asking for one or two raised beds. They want things like cocktail gardens, children’s gardens or herb gardens. They want gardens with a purpose. They want to be closer to their food and they want kids to be able to get their hands dirty in the backyard.”
Functional front yard. The new front yard is a place where homeowners can find a sense of community and connect with neighbors. No longer is the front space about curb appeal. It’s a place of utility. That means patios and spaces for pets and for kids to play. Messner said the new front patio harkens back to the front porch of the past, when people could relax and wave to or chat up their neighbors. People also want food gardens in front for neighborhood sharing, something that once was not only unheard of, but frowned upon as a blight on the street. Some folks are fencing their front yards to make them safe play spaces for kids and pets.