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Garden Media’s 2021 Garden Trends Report concludes that 16 million Americans took up gardening and many more are spending up to two hours more per day during the pandemic. As a result, architects and builders need to know what homeowners want from their backyards to foster these trends.

Gardening wasn’t the only thing that increased over the last year. Outdoor living trends also accelerated dramatically as homeowners opted to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out with patio and deck renovations, outdoor kitchens, expansive windows, and even gardening.

The growth of interest in outdoor living spaces is nothing new, but social distancing guidelines have forced more Americans to use their backyards for exercise, small gatherings, and a source for relaxation. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens found 63.7% of designers surveyed confirmed a growing interest in outdoor living spaces. For the 2021 report, 82% of American homeowners say they are more interested in updating their outdoor living spaces now than before the pandemic.


Biophilia, or the human tendency to interact or be amongst nature, continues to be a design trend increasing since the onset of the pandemic as well. The National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2021 Design Trends report, which gathers insight from hundreds of residential professionals, identified natural and organic design as one of the top design styles for the next three years. 

It’s been a hectic year for many outdoor living businesses, such as Premier Outdoor Living, which spoke to PRODUCTS back in June. “[Homeowners] don’t know what the next year to two years of travel will look like,” said Sean Collinsgru, the company’s founder. “People want to invest in their homes and vacation there.”

Offering a complete package for outdoor spaces helped Premier Outdoor Living triple its number of employees and increased its sales last year. Collinsgru offers his clients design/build services that decks, patios, and landscaping.

In addition, the “urban exodus” and shift toward the suburbs are providing more Americans with an abundance of outdoor space. Instead of visiting crowded parks in a city, more Americans have private outdoor spaces that they can design and cater to their desires.

For millions of Americans, that means catering their outdoors to gardening and outdoor entertaining. Here are five landscape trends for residential construction professionals to know.


Homeowners Are Spending More Money

residential garden landscape design

According to Garden Media’s 2021 Garden Trends Report, a quarter of Americans are spending more money during quarantine.

This, combined with the surges in other outdoor trends, points toward a robust landscaping market. With travel, dining, and other entertainment restrictions in place, more Americans are finding themselves with extra cash. 

Extra cash means more to spend on their backyards and professionals who will get the job done right.

“I think there are homeowners who are doing a lot themselves because they want to try it or do it, but I think the bigger thing is having a professional do it because this is now an investment because they’re going to sell later that’s going to be important,” Joe Markell, LIC, president of Sunrise Landscape + Design told the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Americans aged between 35 and 44 spend the most money on their gardens, according to a survey conducted by the National Gardening Association. These ages correlate with a likeliness to be a homeowner as well, according to data from the Census Bureau.


Reducing the Lawn


outdoor living backyard

In order to accommodate an outdoor entertainment area and gardening spaces, more homeowners are shrinking the sizes of their lawns, according to Garden Media.

A recent National Garden Bureau survey found 67% of respondents aged 35 and under still desire just “some” green lawn but want a variety of plants encompassing the remainder of the lawn.

In 2019, 23.1 million or 9% of American adults converted part of their lawn to natural/wildflower landscape, according to the 2020 National Gardening Survey.

Other areas of the backyard are being taken over by seating areas, kitchens, and pools.

“Pools are definitely one of the biggest demand items in our market right,” Markell said to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. “I think that’s going to continue because the public pools are all closed because of COVID. People enjoy being at home and having that option.”


More People Are Growing Vegetables and Other Edible Plants


indoor home garden

Indoor home garden /  Design by Reve Inc / Photo by Latter and Blum

A majority of adults are growing some sort of edible plant or are planning to. The most popular of these being vegetables, followed by herbs, and then fruit, according to Garden Media.

New gardeners are seeking answers to all their edible plant questions on social media, with Garden Media reporting a 400% growth on edible-garden social media influencers amid the pandemic. 

In April 2020, the term “victory garden” hit its most searches of all time on Google. Victory garden refers to a vegetable garden planted to increase food production during war. Nowadays, they are not needed for times of war, but for those homeowners looking to enjoy their own produce.

Landscapers have noted more requests for spaces for edible gardens, reports the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Primarily raised garden beds have been big hits among clients.

Victory gardens are even making their way indoors. For the climates that do not allow for year round gardening, indoor gardens are becoming a growing desire, reports the National Garden Bureau.


New Homeowners Now Have the Space

landscape trends residential

Home design by Ryan La Haie - 42 North - Architecture + Design /  Built by Cnossen Construction / Photo by Ashley Avila Photography

According to the National Garden Bureau, 40% of consumers over the age of 35 said they do not feel as though they have enough space to garden.

Now that more Americans are shifting away from city life and heading to the ‘burbs, there’s more space to garden and more backyards to be landscaped. 

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Trends Report, a relatively high share of prospective homebuyers still plan to purchase a home in 2021. Quarter four data from 2020 found 15% of prospective buyers are planning to buy in the next 12 months, the highest share since the first quarter of 2018.


A Focus on Environmentally Friendly Gardening Practices

raised garden bed

Home by Renaissance Homes | Photo by Diana Sell Photography

Not only are Americans gardening more, they are becoming increasingly aware of how gardens can benefit local wildlife.

Research commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found more Americans are changing the way they garden to benefit wildlife and the planet as a whole. 

“The new National Gardening Survey shows people across America are purposefully planting for wildlife, making a conservation difference where they live and advancing the wildlife gardening movement,” said Mary Phillips, senior director of Garden for Wildlife. 

During the last three years, 64.1 million American adults purchased a plant because it would benefit birds, bees, or butterflies. 

In addition to pollinator gardens, homeowners are opting for native plants, along with water conservation and even organic lawn care, says the National Association of Landscape Professionals. 

Garden Media suggests garden design has begun to lean toward designs that connect more with nature.