Trends in Backyard Design: What's Hot Now

Update your patio, deck or backyard with what's new in outdoor design.
By: Gretchen Roberts
Related To:

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mainstream Sustainability

Low-maintenance gardens, drought-tolerant plants and less turfgrass have become the norm in landscape design. Homeowners now assume sustainable design will be a major part of the plan — both for economic and environmental reasons. In this California design by Barbara Paul, plants were chosen not only for their gorgeous cottage-garden beauty but also for their tolerance of dry summers and wet winters.

Edibles, Front and Center

Blended gardens that incorporate edibles and ornamentals do double duty, giving gardeners a bountiful harvest of fruit, vegetables and herbs and an alternative to turfgrass. Edible gardens also create community as urban farmers share their bounty around the neighborhood.

Better Quality, Less Bling

Post-recession: Over-the-top, showy landscapes are out. Now, homeowners prefer to invest in quality and natural materials. Here, scale is key to a good design, says landscape architect Kerry Burt. The eight-foot cedar posts add heft to this arbor.

Like a Fish to Water

We love the sound of water in the garden: water features from inexpensive self-contained systems in an urn or portable fountain to a high-end water wall are popular across all budgets. Water feature designed by landscape architect Chad Robert
From: Chad Robert

Indoors Ventures Outside

Thanks to new outdoor fabrics, which are made from acrylic fibers and are fade-resistant and waterproof, homeowners can create permanent living spaces outdoors with comfortable fabrics and furniture. Space designed by Scott Cohen

The Birds and the Bees

It's back-to-the-earth functionality in more and more backyards. Besides figuring out how to incorporate veggie gardens and fruit trees into the landscape, some homeowners are also adding chickens and bees.

Going Green

One of the ecofriendly elements of the HGTV Green Home 2012 is the barbecue courtyard. Born of architect Steve Kemp's vision for a truly green design, the outdoor space replaces the conventional backyard, which would have required major regrading of the site and the construction of retaining walls. "Now the 'yard' is open to almost every room in the house, rather than being open to one or two rooms," he says.

Next Up

Kitchen 2.0: Design a Smarter Cooking Space

From high-tech gadgets to space-saving solutions, these clever kitchen updates will streamline your cooking and cleaning routine.

Color Trends: What's New, What's Next?

Which colors will dominate decor in the coming year? Experts share the latest research.

Wicker. Rattan. What's Your Take on the Boomerang Design Trend?

Get our favorite ideas for incorporating wicker and rattan into almost every room in the house.

15 Design Trends From the '90s We're Totally Digging Right Now

Feeling nostalgic? Relive the 90's with these interior design favorites that set the stage for the many of the looks we love today.

9 Design Trends We're Tired Of + What's Next

These design trends are so 2015. See which fads our editors are ready to see mature in 2016. Do you agree?