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Residential Outdoor Living Trends for 2011

The most popular back yard ideas

Every year, surveys are done and articles written about the latest trends in Landscaping or Outdoor Living.  The most recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (Custom Home Magazine, March 2011) shows that while homeowners are scaling back a bit on what goes into their outdoor living spaces (blame the economy), they are still interested in building an outdoor living room that functions like the indoor room….creating that space that is uniquely theirs, even if it has to be done in phases.  

Living Rooms are the most popular element

According to the ASLA, creating outdoor living spaces and landscaping can add up to 13% to the value of the home.  Now, I’m not certain how they came up with that figure but it’s not the first time I have heard it.  Remodeling inside and out has increased in the last few years while new construction has declined.  It’s about staying close to home for most of us and that home had better be comfortable.

Plans may be downsized but the elements are still there.  People are looking for a comfortable, relaxing space to share with family and friends. The most requested outdoor features for 2011(in order of popularity):

  • Exterior Lighting
  • Fire pits/Fireplaces
  • Seating/Dining Areas
  • Grills
  • Benches, Seat Walls, Boulders

Outdoor lighting highlights the evening landscape

Separate rooms, overlooking the pool

All of the above elements enhance an outdoor living space.  Lighting, fireplaces and outdoor kitchens extend the outdoor season here in Minnesota.  Other popular elements homeowners look for in the outdoor living spaces:

  • Water Features/Fountains
  • Swimming Pools/Hot Tubs
  • Sport/Recreational Spaces


Water features of all kinds are almost a necessity

Recreational sports at home

Even wireless/internet connectivity, TVs, and outdoor heaters have risen in popularity. 

Comfort, convenience, and style – and all in your own backyard.  But it’s best to have an overall plan.  Start by creating a wish list. Then have a landscape professional help you put a design together.  If budget is an issue, work in phases to eventually get everything you want.  The process of design-to-done can be overwhelming so get some help.  Give us a call.  We would be glad to help you build your dream.

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