Gardens: Totally Organic Experiences
Gardens among the most sought-after outdoor design elements overall, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects' 2013 Residential Design Trends Survey. The ASLA asked residential landscape architects to rate the expected popularity of outdoor design elements for the year and gardens are a front-runner at 94%. Proof that the local food movement is gaining traction? The survey also predicts an increase in people opting for fruit and vegetable gardens (76.4% popularity) and that organic gardens are becoming more in-demand (up to 65.3% versus 61.2% in the 2011 survey). This organic garden, as seen on Going Yard, is a beautiful embodiment of all of those trends.
Fire Pits: Burning Up the Charts
The popularity of gardens may seem a bit predictable. The real breakout stars of the ASLA survey are fire pits (like this one built by Carter Oosterhouse) and fireplaces at 97% popularity. They're so hot, they just edged out our next fiery feature...
Grills: Your Backyard BBQ HQs
Grills may have been beaten by fire pits in this popularity contest, but they aren't going anywhere. Sure, you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a pit, but for flame-broiled burgers? You gotta fire up that grill. This beauty from Going Yard has ample room for prep.
Outdoor Dining Areas and Decks: Alfresco, Elevated
Dining areas are must-have outdoor living features lately, at 96.3% popularity. This outdoor dining room from Going Yard creates ambiance with curtains and earns yet more popularity points with its deck structure (80.9%).
Arbors: Stylish Structures
Arbors are looking especially attractive right now at 83.5% popularity. They're a romantic touch in gardens, and as this Going Yard example shows, excellent at providing transitions between two spaces.
Pergolas: Made In the Shade
Part of pergolas' popularity (81.6%) is that they provide structure and shade yet still manage to feel open and airy. Going Yard offers a triple-threat here with a pergola, outdoor dining room and fire pit — in the same yard!
Hot Tubs and Benches: Take a Dip or Take a Seat
Spa features, such as hot tubs, whirlpools and saunas, are among the most popular outdoor recreation amenities, at 81.5% popularity. This custom-built hot tub bench seen on Going Yard throws another current trend into the mix: Installed seating (90.3%).
Play Structures: Kid Tested, Mother Approved
Backyards are a kid's best friend. Play structures like treehouses, swing sets or this seesaw from a backyard featured on Going Yard can provide hours of fun for children, which may explain their relatively high popularity rate (56.3%) amongst other outoor structures in the survey.
Fountains: Water, Featured
Fountains (such as this pretty Going Yard example) and other ornamental water features are big trends in both gardens (84.7%) and backyards in general (84.2%). In addition to being striking focal points, they're wonderfully musical — a delight for the senses.
TVs & Movie Theaters: Scenic Screenings
Miss the experience of seeing flicks at the drive-in? Bring movies to your backyard instead! A projector, screen and surround sound are all you need in the AV department. Theater seats (seen here from Going Yard) evoke the feeling of the multiplex. Just add popcorn.
Backyard Bars: Drink In Your Surroundings
Backyard bars, like this example from Going Yard, are a natural extension of the outdoor dining room trend. They're great for entertaining, and the extra seating and counter space (74.4% popularity) are desirable features in backyards right now. Cheers to that!
Lighting: Get Your Glow On
If you want to enjoy your yard into the evening hours, add your own illumination. At 95.1% popularity, getting your glow on is hot, hot, hot! LED and low-voltage lights are trendy now, though there are plenty of pretty options (like tiki torches, string lights and these lanterns from Going Yard) that don't require major installation.
Art: Adds Interest
Some statements can be purely decorative. These mounted vintage bikes from Going Yard dress up an otherwise bland wall for not much money. Art's 61% popularity rating amongst other outdoor structures proves it's not just an afterthought anymore.
Fencing: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
The old saying that good fences make good neighbors may be true, if fencing's popularity ranking against other outdoor structures in the survey (89.6%) is any indication. Many people use fences to border their backyard or section off space for a garden, but here's another great idea from Going Yard: A backyard dog run!
Gazebos: Sweet for a Seat
Gazebos currently rank as somewhat popular (44.8%), and while their looks add charm, they can also add function to your yard. This gazebo from Going Yard doubles as a tea room, thanks to the addition of some weatherized outdoor furniture (82.3% popularity).
Patios & Awnings: A Perfect Pair
If you want to enjoy the outdoors, rain or shine, patios (97.6% popularity) and awnings (51.9%) make a perfect pair. You can opt for a fixed-frame awning like this one from Going Yard, or get a retractable awning for even more flexibility.