Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect our 2024 Trend Predictions. Find our 2023 Trend Report here.
Looking ahead to the top outdoor living trends of 2024, Yardzen’s design experts reflect on how our sociocultural moment will shape homes and yards in the new year
Last year, we titled our trend report “The Year of Backyard Bliss,” and focused on outdoor projects aimed at increasing “enjoyment at home,” creating spaces that make our clients feel “happy, whole, and connected.” We noted a move away from modernism toward Organic style and flowering plants, and a spike in demand for outdoor wellness features. This was set against the backdrop of the ongoing mortgage rate hikes as our clients resolved to stay in their homes and invest in projects that improve their quality of life.
As we approach the new year, we anticipate 2024 to be “The Year of the Eclectic Yard” with outdoor living trends that embrace eclecticism, exploration, and connection inspired by the natural world. This desire for outdoor living spaces of highly personalized formalistic freedom, creating landscapes of personal expression and exuberance, takes shape in a global moment of war, the loneliness crisis, corporate burnout, and the specter of recession.
Our top style, “Eclectic,” and runner up, “Transitional English Garden” celebrate texture, movement, and color – a further rejection of monolithic modern and formal styles. Our top trends in planting take their queue from these styles, as Yardzen’s clients and designers opt for maximalist palettes of luxurious monochrome and expressive pollinator plants.
When it comes to how people live in their yard in 2024, we’re predicting an embrace of unstructured time and the growth of elements that encourage adventure for all ages, from raised beds for getting your hands dirty to forts for imaginary play.
Wellness in the yard will continue to be a priority as homeowners seek solace in both the serenity of plants and new-to-market products that improve mental health. And, sustainable landscaping choices will become an even bigger priority as our climate changes, so clearly demonstrated by the recent change in USDA planting zones.
Yardzen’s top style of 2024, “Eclectic,” and runner up, “Transitional English Garden,” are personal expressions, drawing inspiration from diverse historic styles and embracing the spontaneity of native plants and natural beauty.
Top 2024 Style: Eclectic
An evolution of 2023’s top style, “Organic,” towards the more-is-more “wildness” of the natural world. Eclectic landscapes embrace the riotous appearance of plants in their habitat and pulls inspiration from many time periods and trends, combining new and existing landscaping elements and materials (its best for the environment to reuse where possible). Stylistically, you can expect less structure than both modernism and formalism. Paths meander, angles aren’t sharp, and plantings appear spontaneous, resembling the random expressions of natural beauty found on trails, creating moments of discovery and connection in your own yard. The Eclectic yard emphasizes the use of native plants, edible gardens, and sustainable practices, and is generously low-maintenance. The use of both annual and perennial plants connect homeowners to the rhythms of ecological processes and provides habitat for a host of beneficial insects.
2024 Style Runner Up: Transitional English Garden
Our 2024 runner up style is the Transitional English Garden- reflective of the interior movement toward countryside-inspired romance and “eclectic floor plans that reference multiple time periods” (Architectural Digest’s 2024 Interior Design Forecast). Similar to the “more is more” ruffles and toile you’ll see inside the home, the Transitional English Garden celebrates maximalist plantings of flowering plants, hedges, and shrubs alongside textural, visually impactful hardscaping like crushed granite, mulch, stone, and tile. Yet, unlike English manors, the “transitional” element of this style makes room for low-maintenance functionality and the “lived in” feel of our cherished homes. Read more about this Yardzen yard here – built by Pro Network contractor Urban Oasis.
In 2024, plantings will go maximalist with top styles embracing a “more is more” ethos – from the emerging trend of luxurious monochromatic plantings of green-on-green to the returning trend of vibrant, impressionist-inspired landscapes of flowering pollinator plants and herbs. And, as we look forward to these planting styles for 2024, Yardzen’s team is paying close attention to the historic change in USDA zones—a first since 2012, reflecting our changing climate.
Green-on-green planting palettes, also known as tone-on-tone gardening, feature a panoply of green shades, from silver-sheened to forest dark to bright lime. This style elevates your garden with luxurious movement and a highly considered feel. The play of textures in a single tone has a meditative quality, creating an outdoor living space of breezy serenity.
Impressionist-Inspired Pollinator Plants
Express your unique style with pollinator-friendly blooms in a sea of Monet-esque pastels – and support the essential role of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other insects. Yardzen’s designers recommend native and climate-adapted perennial plants to achieve this look, like aster, echinacea, lavender, and salvia. Better yet – work with Yardzen’s team to showcase a variety of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the growing season to provide a continuous supply of nectar for pollinators.
The New Cutting Garden: Flowering Herbs & Edibles
Cutting gardens are a beautiful way to add color to your home and garden, but they can be high-maintenance. Instead, Yardzen’s designers recommend cutting gardens of flowering herbs and edibles, including anise hyssop, chives, oregano, thyme, basil, and sage. Low-water and loved by pollinators, flowering herbs add an intricate tapestry of fragrance, color, and texture to the yard – and have culinary pleasures, too.
Science demonstrates that time outside is crucial for our wellbeing, especially at a time when humans spend more time than ever sitting at their computers (Harvard, 2022). For those of us privileged enough to have an outdoor space, spending time in the yard provides the multitude of benefits of being outdoors. This year, we’re predicting a movement toward more unstructured time outside. While we’ll always love a planned dinner party under the stars, the discovery and connection that happens during “free range” time in the yard – gardening, building forts, exploring green spaces in the community – is what we’re most excited about in 2024.
Unstructured Time Outside
Just like the rewilded garden, we’re embracing unstructured, “wild” time for our kids (and ourselves!) as the new way to play. From forts, to stumps, to tree houses, we want our kids to develop their own relationships to their yard, and ultimately, the world at large. We especially love play structures made from natural materials, like wood or found objects, as they keep the garden looking natural yet elevated.
Creating Connection with Gardening
There is nothing “new” about gardening, but our team does predict an uptick in demand for workable garden spaces, whether for edibles, flowers, pollinator plants, and medicinal plants. For everyone in your household, creating space for cultivation at home creates moments of discovery and a deep connection to the rhythms of the natural world.
Urban Garden Trails
In 2024, we’re excited to see families exploring their urban and suburban environments with neighborhood walking tours. Create a scavenger hunt or seek inspiration for your own yard. At home, we love creating front yards with space for community connection – whether that is a social front yard, edible “lawn”, or a little free library (stick libraries, too!).
Functional Decor for Wellbeing
Functional decor combines aesthetic appeal with practical utility, enhancing both the visual and functional aspects of outdoor spaces. This year, our designers expect to see the biggest growth in decor for outdoor wellness and wellbeing, from saunas to heated furniture to raised gardening beds.
Build out your outdoor sanctuary with outdoor heated furniture from Galanter & Jones. Their plug-in, radiant heat furniture emanates soothing warmth, allowing you to indulge in long evenings outside.
Modular Raised Beds
Raised beds add visual intrigue to the yard through their play on heights and textures. Plus, of course, the function of designated “zones” for gardening. Birdies, crafted from durable galvanized steel, offers a modular gardening solution with easy assembly and versatile design, providing an aesthetically pleasing and functional space for cultivating your green thumb.
Two-Person Sauna for an At-Home Spa
Having an outdoor sauna isn’t just about relaxation; it’s a transformative experience that brings a slice of spa-like luxury to your own backyard. Whether it’s the therapeutic heat easing tension from your muscles or the calming ambiance under the open sky, the outdoor sauna becomes a sanctuary for physical and mental rejuvenation. It’s an investment in self-care, a place where stress dissipates, and a sense of tranquility takes over. The Thermowood Mini-Cube Sauna from Redwood Outdoors is a great for those short on space.
With the imperative to address climate change becoming more and more urgent, more homeowners are requesting the use of sustainable materials and energy efficient choices in their yards. Incorporating sustainable materials in the garden not only reduces environmental impact but also fosters a mindful and responsible approach to creating a thriving outdoor space.
The Energy-Efficient Garden
In the garden that maximizes energy efficiency, solar-powered lights illuminate pathways, and smart irrigation controllers tailor watering schedules to the weather, ensuring optimal efficiency. Drip irrigation systems minimize water usage, and rain barrels might even be on-site to collect water. It’s not just about our enjoyment of the yard; it’s about cultivating a space where we can exist with nature seamlessly, creating an eco-friendly oasis right in your backyard.
Sustainable Decking by TimberTech
Composite decking is beloved for its durability, low maintenance, and eco-friendly composition. TimberTech decking demonstrates a commitment to sustainability by utilizing recycled materials, minimizing environmental impact, and adhering to responsible forestry practices, ensuring an eco-friendly and durable outdoor decking solution. Our designers choose TimberTech for composite decking because it combines aesthetic appeal with durability, offering a high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor flooring solution that beautifully complements any outdoor living space.
Permeable hardscape, including porous asphalt, gravel, and interlocking permeable pavers, has porous surfaces, allows rainwater to infiltrate the ground, reducing runoff and promoting groundwater recharge, contributing to sustainable water management. Additionally, it helps prevent erosion, minimizes puddling, and supports healthier plant growth, making it an environmentally conscious choice for outdoor spaces.
Design & Build Your Own Eclectic Yard!
We want to make sure our team of professional landscape designers and contractors can personalize your yard, delivering a vision that includes what’s most important for your outdoor life, style, and unique environment while keeping costs within range. We do this by utilizing our in-house Build Team made up of former landscape contractors with years of experience and our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers across the country.