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11 Landscape Design Predictions For Your Home This Year

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa November 9, 2021

Image of a Backyard Bar

The last few years have reinforce the importance of the home and creating a comfortable space to call your own - this includes your backyard and front yard! Homeowner's have realized they enjoy entertaining at home and have embraced backyard design trends that fuel social gatherings and enjoying the nature around you. Tilly has pulled together our annual landscape trend predictions and are excited to share our top 11 yard trends. This list is based on speaking to our talented team of landscape designers, landscape architects, plants nerds, brand partners and much more!

Let's dive in! The first section focuses on enviornmental trends. With extreme weather patterns affecting the country coast to coast, we expect homeowner's to place emphasis on landscape plans that lean into the weather conditions they are experiencing more than ever. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do in your yard to make a difference in your community.

Our second section focuses on design trends and design features we're expecting to see more of in backyards (and front yards) across the country. Review our exterior trends list and let us know what you think!

Environmental Trends:

#1 // Stamp Out Invasive Species

As with all industries, homeowners are starting to become extremely savvy when it comes to their yards and not only what looks good, but what is good for the environment and their surroundings. Shifting the focal point from native plants to also understand the importance and harm of invasive species will trend in 2022. Invasive species are an indigenous species whose introduction into a region is not natural and therefore they disrupt the ecosystem and cause harm to everything from the insect population to native plant life - even farming, soil and waterways. Planting invasive species has become such a damaging trend that some towns are even offering to remove invasive species for free in order to protect the neighborhood.

This concept can be something that even top designers and nurseries struggle with as consumer demand surges for invasive plants in certain areas, but it’s a piece of the puzzle that homeowner’s can advocate for in their yards to make a difference.

#2 // Low Water Usage Landscapes

With droughts, extreme heat waves and water shortages, xeriscape landscaping will continue to grow in popularity across the US, but specifically boom in the West and Southwest. Xeriscape design is creating a landscape that requires little or no irrigation to maintain. A well-designed low water plan, combined with homeowner’s investing in smart irrigation systems, will greatly reduce water bills, remove the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and focus the design on native plants which are more likely to thrive in the surrounding environment. Designers have become savvy at making this pragmatic landscape look chic, sophisticated, natural and comfortable throughout your outdoor space.

#3 // Storm Water Mitigation

Homeowner’s will actively seek natural solutions to help eradicate drainage and flooding problems from 2021. The US Environmental Protection Agency has said that runoff is a major source of pollution in our waterways. We predict this will influence landscape design through:

  • Drainage Solutions: Underground drainage systems aren’t a part of the visual landscape, but water damage has forced people to revisit their backyards and front yards and improve their grading and systems. Investing in a good drainage system, drainage swales, underground seepage tanks, french drains, is a must. This helps reduce and slow surface run off and allow that rain water to soak into the ground rather than travel across fields and roadways where it picks up chemicals and dumps them into waterways.
  • Rain Gardens: Rain Gardens are a depression designed to collect runoff from a roof, driveway or yard and are usually filled with shrubs or perennials - especially native plants that like wet feet! They are a natural and beautiful way to help with water runoff and can be effective in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff. They allow up to 30% more water to soak into the ground (Groundwater Foundation).
  • Permeable pavers: Incorporating permeable pavers into your landscape design plan can help slow down water runoff, recharge the aquifer, and allow it to infiltrate into the ground better. They can also be a good option to address tightening zoning laws.

Design Trends:

#4 // Herb Gardens

During covid many homeowners dove head first into creating plentiful vegetable gardens. They then learned that a veggie garden is a big commitment of time and attention. Many ventured into the exercise unaware of how difficult it can be, but also not understanding how little a veggie garden may produce depending on the size and your level of expertise. As lives get busier, we predict homeowners will downsize and focus on herb gardens, which are less upkeep, need less space and can be used frequently when cooking or for drinks. These gardens can be as simple as having herbs in planters on your patio near your kitchen door (or on your balcony) for easy access when in the kitchen.

home with a vertical herb garden on the side

#5 // Doggy-Influenced Design

Many people brought home dogs during the pandemic and we expect homeowner’s will start making landscape design decisions to support their furry friends and create beautiful dog-friendly areas. Dogs often create dead spots in the lawn, but adding synthetic turf and teaching them to use the turf as a bathroom can help save your grassy area and simply needs a wash down every once in a while. Homeowners will also invest in fences to keep their pups safe and we’ll see a rise in dog runs where it’s okay for the dog to rip up the grass and run amuck. Invisible electric fences, modern slat fences, picket, aluminum fencing- whatever style to keep your pup safe.

#6 // Backyard Neighborhood Bar & Grill

As people continue to realize the joy their backyard can bring they are looking for ways to maximize its functionality. Outdoor kitchens have been popular for a while, but generally consist of a grill and mini fridge. As people continue to push entertaining outdoors, we predict you will see more elaborate set ups, specifically with a backyard bar areas. A bar type counter with stools for friends and family to relax and converse at will be the new coveted watering hole amongst friends.

a backyard with an outdoor bar

#7 // Smart Outdoor Technology

We’ve heard about smart irrigation that controls your sprinklers, but there is so much more on the market. From soil sensors, to outdoor TV’s that can be used in direct sunlight, high quality speakers and projectors, top of the line home pool cleaners - you can invest in products to create the ultimate entertaining space that offers maximum convenience with new weather resistant tech.

Newer on the market are cordless robotic lawn mowers with GPS and wifi so you can watch TV with your feet up - while mowing your lawn! Outdoor lights have come along way with products that are voice controlled and can set the mood with 16 million (yes, million!) colors or shades of white. There are home and shed security systems that can be accessed with fingerprints instead of bulky padlocks! We’ve seen some commercial furniture with hotspots - can’t wait until those launch for the homeowner.

backyard with a pergola and outdoor tv

#8 // Finding Square Footage

While the outdoors has taken on a new meaning to homeowners, landscape designers and homeowners will continue to find new ways to maximize the space and “find” new square footage in their yards. For example, pergolas won’t be covered in vines, but instead have a sunbrella awning underneath that’s rain resistant to make the space more usable. Inground pools or hot tubs that have moveable decks so space is regained when not in use will become more common.

Getting creative by using a traditional retaining wall to hang an edible garden or making the side of a shed an outdoor cinema screen. We recently turned a Tilly client’s space under the stairs into a bike and bbq storage. For a long narrow space, adding a bocce court that can double as a space for an entertaining table or a spot to work out (albeit a little dusty!). The request for cocktail pools, ‘spools,' plunge pools and container pools have risen and people are seeing the benefit to having these entertainment features in their own yard.

landscape plan with living space under stairs

#9 // Creative Upcycling

You have probably seen the classic yard upcycling trends, such as using a tree stump or a vintage claw foot bathtub as a planter, but we expect homeowner’s to extend their creativity further. For example, using tree stumps for a children’s playspace in the backyard - ninja warrior style; using vintage bar carts to shelve plants vertically on a patio space, mounting old windows, mirrors or chalkboards to fences for decoration and/or functional use! We had a client use an old bathtub as a small pond ecosystem and another hang a vintage door horizontally to liven a boring stucco wall in their outdoor entertaining area. Taking inspiration from your surroundings will push people to get creative and have fun!

backyard plan with kids play space

#10 // Paving Patterns

Paving patterns have been rising in popularity in interior design and Tilly predicts this will extend into the outdoors. Unexpected paving patterns can quickly take an outdoor space from great to stunning and memorable. Large pavers in a running bond pattern will be the new contemporary look rather than multiple sized stepping stones. Paving with a smoother finish rather than a textured or rock faced look will be a go to style. We expect porcelain paving to rise in popularity as well. It doesn’t get as hot as bluestone so can be a great option around pools.

Outdoor Kitchen in Tennessee

#11 // Indoor Inspiring the Outdoors

Of course the indoor always inspires outdoor trends and we’re seeing a shift in color popularity. Gray has held court for years, but we expect design to shift from cool colors such as grays and white to more warm earthy colors like tans and browns bringing a cozy and intimate feeling to spaces.

New styles will emerge in the outdoors that mimic indoor trends, such as retro - with bright colored hammock weave patio chairs and retro shaped coffee tables and deck shapes. Modern Farmhouse will rise in popularity, giving a spin to the farmhouse trend we’ve seen over the past decade. Add a long sleek couch next to barn stable doors or lantern inspired lights with flower blooming shrubs. Rustic, a charming trend that places an emphasis on rugged and natural beauty will play well with the greenery and plants in a yard.

Contemporary spaces with full plantings, rather than the minimalistic aesthetic we're used to seeing will be popular. California Modern and naturalistic styles will be huge in Texas and Western states, with a focus on drought tolerant plants or modern designs softened with grasses and perennials. Cottage style gardens will trend in the Southern and Midwest States with a more modern and classic look in the Northeast.

Need landscaping ideas? Ready to update your backyard or curb appeal? We'd love to help. Check out how Tilly works!

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