March 29, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — When it comes to outdoor projects, homeowners aren’t messing around.
In a new Houzz landscaping survey, 88 percent of homeowners involved in an outdoor project say the scope of the work is a substantial or complete renovation. Their projects include things like adding paving and garden beds, building or updating structures, regrading, terracing and updating landscaping.
The Houzz Landscaping & Garden Trends Study surveyed 958 registered U.S. Houzz users in February 2016 who had completed an outdoor project in the past 12 months, were working on one or planned to start one in the next six months, according to a news release from the How To Website.
The news release said: “In recent years, landscape professionals and outdoor product manufacturers have come up with clever ways to make outdoor spaces more enjoyable.
“Durable furnishings and fabrics offer more comfort. Fire pits, fireplaces and heaters extend the use of outdoor spaces into cold months. Innovative drainage methods mitigate flooding, while rainwater harvesting systems irrigate during dry spells so plantings thrive year-round.”
According to the survey, water — either how to get rid of it or how to get more of it — is a top challenge among homeowners and designers. In turn, how homeowners and designers manage too much or too little water affects how people use their outdoor spaces.
To deal with water shortages, as well as maintenance concerns, nearly half of people are reducing or removing their lawns, according to the survey. Those doing so are replacing their lawns with hardscape, garden beds, ground cover, mulch and more. Fewer people are installing synthetic lawns than in the previous survey year too, down from 8 percent to 6 percent.
Helping the environment is down almost 10 percent from the previous year as the reason for removing or reducing a lawn, while lowering water bills, reducing maintenance and achieving a new outdoor design are up.
People are planting more greenery in their yards compared with the previous year, probably spurred by milder winter conditions, according to the survey. All kinds of plants are up in popularity, from perennials to shrubs to annuals and trees. But people are prioritizing low-maintenance, flowering, native and drought-resistant plants and those that attract butterflies, bees or hummingbirds.
Comfort is key in updated outdoor spaces. According to the survey, the majority of homeowners plan to add outdoor furniture. Fire pits, benches, grills and built-in seating are also popular features.
More than half of people renovating their spaces will make updates to lighting, with LED the preferred choice across all regions, according to the survey.
While a third of homeowners will make updates to their yards to accommodate children and grandchildren, with things like edible plants and space for running and playing, pets are getting even more attention.
More than two-fifths of homeowners will make pet-related upgrades to their outdoor spaces. Play space, toxin-free plants, paths and fenced-off areas top the requests.
The press release goes on: “The burning question with any remodeling project is always how much is this going to cost? A look at what other homeowners reported spending, or plan to spend, can offer some insight into your project.
“According to the survey, the majority of homeowners working on a minor project, which includes things like mulching, minor planting and painting, spent less than $5,000, while more substantial projects (paving, installing new beds and building structures) fall in the $20,000-or-more category.
“Substantially updating your yard isn’t about playing in the dirt and working on your tan. Chances are you’ll want a skilled crew of people who know what they’re doing — and have the ability to lift heavy pavers and get the project done on time.
“That’s why more than half of homeowners surveyed are enlisting the help of a landscape professional. Landscape contractors and architects are in high demand, but so are paving and deck specialists.”
So before embarking on your project, consider first meeting with a professional.