As backyards increasingly continue to be seen as an extension of the house, more homeowners are investing in professional landscapers to improve their outdoor spaces.
The Houzz Landscaping & Garden Trends Study, conducted in February 2016, surveyed approximately 958 Houzz users who had completed an outdoor project in the past 12 months. Of those who responded, 88 percent reported their projects were complete renovations.
“Things have changed fast in the past 15 years,” Natalain Schwartz, a landscape contractor in Santa Cruz, California, told Houzz. “Landscaping isn’t just about being pretty anymore. It’s about creating a function. And I think that’s so cool.”
In the survey, Houzz users listed the top challenges they faced when doing a landscaping project. Depending on the region, either the abundance or lack of water were the main issues addressed. In addition to drainage and drought, homeowners also longed for greater privacy.
ARTIFICIAL TURF SHARE DECLINES
While 42 percent are replanting their lawns, those dealing with drought are responding by either reducing lawn size or removing their grass altogether. These areas are being replaced with hardscaping, garden beds, ground cover and mulch. Fewer people are opting for artificial turf this year compared with last year’s survey, dropping from 8 to 6 percent.
“My clients realize there are other choices out there,” Schwartz said.
As for what plants are popular, interest in everything from perennials, to annuals, to succulents and shrubs has grown. The most desired trait for plants is low maintenance. The other most sought after characteristics are their ability to attract pollinators, drought-resistance and being native to the area.
According to Nick McCullough, owner of McCullough’s Landscape and Nursery in Columbus, Ohio, native plants are becoming more common because suppliers are growing more of them.
“They are relatively easy to get and introduce now,” he said.
Along with the greenery of an outdoor living space comes the need for durable furniture, and 52 percent of those surveyed planned to add some. Fire pits, benches and grills were other products they wanted integrated into their backyards.
Oddly enough, aside from catering to families in designing outdoor spaces, new projects are seeing an increase in features designed for pets, such as space to play, toxin-free plants and paths to explore. For tips on how to better cater to family pets in outdoor spaces, check out these articles on dogscaping and catscaping.
“Pets are definitely dictating the space these days,” said McCullough. He cited a demand for pet-safe fertilizer and de-icer products.
According to the survey, homeowners who were doing minor projects stayed below the $5,000 range, but complete overhauls tended to cost anywhere from $20,000 to $49,999. With major renovations fetching such high prices, it only makes sense that 41 percent said they hired a landscape contractor and 31 percent hired a landscape architect or designer for the job.
For the full results of the study, click here.