From BUILDER Pulse…


The TurfMutt Foundation and Houzz share some of their backyard predictions for the new year.

By Symone Strong

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No longer deemed as just an area behind a house, today’s backyards are getting dedicated room treatment, as more people choose to spend more time outside. The TurfMutt Foundation is even coining a new term, backyarding, or the act of taking activities typically associated with the indoors outside into green space.

“Now more than ever, homeowners are recognizing the power of their yards and parks doing environmental good, as well as benefiting their health and well-being,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and its parent organization, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. “Homeowners are making improvements in their yards with many goals in mind, thinking about what’s good for their families, pets, and our planet.”

The organization expects the practice of “backyarding” to evolve into an ongoing sustainability practice and also predicts the following trends for 2024:

  • Fun in the Sun: From parents looking for ways to lure their kids away from screens to neighbors wanting to connect with friends, homeowners are turning their backyards into a place for fun and games. Some go all out to install a pool or a pickleball court, while others take a simpler approach like designating a strip of grass for cornhole or soccer.
  • Living Landscapes: Since homeowners have come to value their lawns, trees, and plants more than ever, they are investing in their care like never before. This might mean planting for pollinators, adding drought-tolerant plants, investing in lawn care equipment, or calling in landscape professionals, as needed, for pruning, rescuing diseased trees, and revitalizing turf grass.
  • Mixing Materials: As outdoor living has become incorporated into daily life, homeowners are taking care to design cohesive outdoor spaces. They factor in landscaping, hardscaping, and natural aesthetics.
  • Backyard Birding: The birdwatching craze took flight during the pandemic, but it’s not a fleeting fad, says TurfMutt. Birdwatching is not only relaxing; it is a great way to connect with nature right outside the back door.

Houzz’s team of outdoor design experts also decided to weigh in on yard expectations for 2024. They predict the four below trends will be prominent next year.

  • Petite Patios: Earlier this year, Houzz search data revealed significant increases in searches for terms like “small screened-in porch ideas,” “small backyard patio,” and “small front porch.” For homeowners with modest-sized yards, adding a small patio or deck can turn an unused side yard or entry into an inviting outdoor living space.
  • Great Gathering: Professionals on Houzz are increasingly adding outdoor gathering areas that can help maximize living space and create a more dynamic home entertaining experience. Anchoring the area with a feature like a fireplace or a fire pit, a bar, or an outdoor TV creates a focal point and draws guests out into the yard.
  • Adjacent Add-Ons: Screened-in or glassed-in porches are growing in popularity as they allow homeowners who live in regions that experience inclement weather, pollen, or insects to enjoy the benefits of being outside while still having the comforts of home. As these spaces often sit directly off the main house, Houzz is seeing more design continuity between the home and porch.
  • Paver Plantings: Garden paths and patios made of pavers separated by ground cover have gained popularity on Houzz due to their natural look, permeability, and design versatility. This approach softens pathways, breaks up large expanses of hardscape, and generally makes a walkway or patio feel more like a lush, living part of a garden.



Symone is an associate editor for Zonda’s BUILDER and Multifamily Executive magazines. She also has stories in other company publications, including ARCHITECT. She earned her B.S. in journalism and a minor in business communications from Towson University.

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