We expect the line between indoor and outdoor living space to become increasingly blurred in 2017 as more and more homeowners turn their attention to creating lifestyle spaces in their homes and backyards. Increasingly, those spaces are incorporating both natural and entertainment elements.
Probably the biggest trend to watch in our area will be the addition of a lot of technology into your outdoor living space. You’ll see unique applications of lighting using OLED technology – which can be very thin, flexible, color changing, and tied into smart home systems to coordinate with other landscape features. There will be a big uptick in the use of wireless audio and wi-fi incorporated into landscapes. Automation will also be on the rise, with autonomous lawnmowers and smarter irrigation technology coming to market.
Indigenous materials are also becoming increasingly important as homeowners want to honor the natural landscape, encourage native species, and conserve water. Nurseries are beginning to stock more highly regional materials. Hyper-local gardening is becoming a big buzzword, wherein boulders, trees and plants are being relocated within a few miles or even within the same garden to keep that native feel. You’ll also see that idea in the furnishings and décor being used. Locally crafted pieces or items made with native materials will be in demand. Also trending in 2017 will be a turn toward more organic shapes flowing around smaller, more intimate furniture groupings. It will be a mix of an old-fashioned, shabby-chic or DIY aesthetic with bold pops of modern-lined pieces or colors.
Speaking of color pops, landscape trends will be taking a page from the fashion world with color blocking in 2017. You’ll see lots of solids in rugs, curtains, pillows and pots this year to be combined in interesting ways. Walls and fences will get color, too, as a way to draw attention further into the landscape and create spaces.
Of primary importance will be incorporating lifestyle elements into the outdoor space. Whether you’re adding that outdoor kitchen or the low-maintenance gas fire pit, enjoying leisure time outdoors and making the space about entertaining will continue to be a focus in 2017. An interesting shift is that play space isn’t just for kids these days. You’ll see a return to the days of outdoor family gaming, including space for things like corn hole, lawn Yahtzee, or tetherball. The focus is less on play structures and more on unstructured play, where it’s ok for kids to dig, climb, and explore. Designers are incorporating rock beds, fruit trees and freeform logs into their designs to create a more wild, less manicured space. There is less emphasis on expansive lawns and more use of grasses that need less mowing and less water. Some are opting for artificial turf in play areas and beds of prairie grasses and native wildflowers in other areas to reduce the need for water. For those who want a more natural feel, organic gardening is making a stronger than ever showing. Plants that attract pollinators are becoming increasingly important as honeybees face more environmental threats.
Will you be updating your backyard in 2017? What features do you plan to incorporate?