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  • Chris Gilliland

Top Backyard Trends of Summer 2021 (Source - Yelp)

As warm weather approaches and summer kicks into full swing, outdoor activities are top of mind for many Americans. Last year, Yelp saw mentions of interior designers increase 372% as people spent more time in their kitchens, converted spare rooms to offices, and completed projects around the home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This year is all about the backyard: Searches for terms like “outdoor deck”, “patio heaters” and “outdoor lighting” have skyrocketed (jumping 373%, 263%, and 88% respectively) as homeowners are looking for more ways to spruce up their outdoor spaces for al fresco entertaining, rest and relaxation and fun with the family.

Elevated Al Fresco Entertaining

Outdoor dining has evolved since the onset of COVID-19, sparking a renaissance for al fresco dining at restaurants across the country, as well as in our own backyards. Though people are returning to restaurants, on Yelp we’re seeing trends that indicate a desire to make simple upgrades to improve the experience of at-home dining, and elevate what it means to entertain. Searches for outdoor pizza ovens increased 193% in March of this year, compared to March 2020, and searches for “BBQ island” increased 90% during the same time period; two additions that add a social and interactive element to outdoor entertaining, and create a new space to enjoy family meals.

Searches for outdoor lighting upgrades were up 88% during the same time period, as people look to transform their backyards and add more entertaining-friendly ambiance to their outdoor spaces. Installing light paths, hanging lighting fixtures, or adding lighting underneath the stairs or railing of a deck can make a backyard look brand new.

Outdoor Living Rooms

As we bring indoor decor outside, having a cohesive, serene aesthetic between the two spaces is more important than ever. Searches for fire tables, like this one from Infantry Landscaping in Atlanta, GA, have increased 76% in searches in the last year*. A more modern and sleek version of fire pits, adding this backyard feature creates an instant feel of luxury. Searches for patio heaters increased 263% during the same time period, indicating that the desire to have an outdoor living space that can be used year-round isn’t going anywhere. In addition to a patio heater, consider adding soft throw pillows that complement the decor of the space.

Deck & Patio Additions

Yelp data indicates searches for outdoor decks were up 373% this year*, and increased 64% between February and March. It’s clear that deck and patio additions will be one of the hottest home trends of the summer, as searches for these features are continuing to rise each month. Decks come in so many shapes and sizes, that there’s an option for almost every home, whether it’s a patio, screened-in porch, or elevated deck.

Easy, Rustic Landscaping

Plants provide decor, fresh air, and a pop of color to any space, including our backyards. For those who may have developed a green thumb with houseplants this year, greenhouses (up 11% in searches in March**) add a unique element to any outdoor space. Searches for planter beds have increased 47% this year*, and drip irrigation systems increased 103% during the same time period, indicating that our obsession with all things plants isn’t going anywhere. Summer 2021 is all about landscaping with ease: Planter beds are an easy solution for those with small spaces, and greenhouses protect against critters who may enjoy your plants as a midnight snack.

Backyard Oasis

With the ability to instantly create the feel of a private retreat, it’s no surprise that searches for hedges (up 317% in March**) have increased. This landscaping addition is a great way to incorporate greenery and solitude into the backyard without an expensive – or obtrusive – fence. Adding in hedges is not typically a DIY project.

Reducing and Reusing

For those who like a low maintenance backyard, artificial turf is becoming a popular landscaping trend with searches up 75% in the last year*. Bonus: It’s typically cheaper than grass and is especially good for dry climates. Artificial turf is an easy solution for backyards to look bright and healthy, but not require constant watering or treatment, which is easy on the homeowner and environment. Additionally, we’re seeing an increased demand for antique furniture (up 30% this spring from March 2020 and up 34% from March 2019) , perhaps influenced by more intentionality when it comes to upcycling clothing, furniture and materials.

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