The trend to move indoor activities outdoors that was made popular during the pandemic – known as “backyarding” – will continue to expand in 2023, according to the TurfMutt Foundation, an environmental education, and stewardship program that encourages outdoor living and caring for green spaces.
“Our yards have truly become one of the most important parts of our homes,” says Kris Kiser, president, and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and its parent organization the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “As we master the backyard in new ways, we are also realizing more long-term mental and physical health benefits of spending time outside.”
The TurfMutt Foundation Predicts the Following Backyarding Trends for 2023:
Communities will expand in big ways. The building industry will incorporate the hottest amenity around – outdoor space – when conceptualizing planned communities and developments. Get ready to see hiking trails, dog parks, outdoor eateries, green concert spaces, community gardens, pollinator plantings, playgrounds, rooftop gardens and terraces, and more in communities that expand and revitalize.
Say goodbye to bland yards and parks. As green space becomes curated spaces, more Americans will use themes or personalities to focus the purpose of their outdoor living spaces around specific activities. Parks and other community green spaces also will reflect their more purposeful nature.
Vacation vibes are year-round. Whether it’s adding Greek-themed elements and plantings to the backyard because a homeowner adores Mediterranean vacations, or adding quality furniture, a deluxe fire pit, a covered outdoor kitchen, or luxury seating with heating – more backyards will transport people to lush experiences that feel a world away.
Homeowners will continue to plant with wildlife in mind. Knowing the backyard is a habitat for pollinators, insects, birds, and other wildlife, homeowners will choose plants, trees, and shrubs that nurture and support wildlife, delighting in discovering them. They will also observe backyard wildlife as a hobby and families may incorporate bird or bat nesting boxes into outdoor learning for children and grown-ups alike.
Accessibility becomes a bigger player in backyard design. As baby boomers age in place and people incorporate backyarding further into their daily lives, having a yard that everyone can enjoy becomes paramount. Raised garden beds eliminate the need to kneel to tend or view plants. Hardscape decks and wide paths can create level surfaces for access. Railings on steps and walkways provide support. Pollinator and herb gardens add sensory experiences.
Pet pampering will remain strong and expand. Fencing, sandpiles for digging, dog houses, and even agility courses for pets to enjoy will become more common.
Yard maintenance grows smarter. As homeowners think about how to maintain their yards, they install smart irrigation and other sensor devices. They mulch beds and hardscapes in weed-prone areas to reduce ongoing maintenance. Perennial plantings fill gardens and robotic lawnmowers quietly snip lawns while homeowners relax. They use outdoor power equipment for their unique needs, choosing a power source, such as battery/electric, gasoline, propane, solar and more, that suits their lifestyle.
Water wise features gain in popularity. Rain gardens and rain barrels help capture and reuse water in the garden. Bird baths cycle rainwater for wildlife. With attention paid to water runoff and flow that impact how the ground is leveled and graded, strategically planted trees and grass will help with water runoff and filtration.
The backyard is embraced as a sanctuary for personal growth. Whether it’s reaping the biophilic benefits of observing wildlife in the backyard while drinking coffee, to doing yoga on the grass, or journaling while listening to birds – backyards will continue to give people a respite from the stresses of daily life.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Championed by Foundation spokesdog, Mulligan the TurfMutt, and through education partners such as Weekly Reader, Discovery Education, and Scholastic, TurfMutt has taught students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” Today, TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt has been an educational resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat was featured in the 2017-2020 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.
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