Photo: © Chuck Schmidt - iStockphoto
More Americans want to improve their outdoor space, according to a 2014 survey of home owners across the U.S. and Canada, conducted by Houzz. The results show that among homeowners planning landscaping projects in their yards this summer, the largest portion (56%) are working toward making their yard more conducive to entertaining. How they plan to do so is enlightening to homeowners with plans of their own, or to those who want to improve their home's curb appeal.
Rocks and Fire
According to the survey, creating a patio or deck was by far the largest project homeowners were planning to take on (69% patio, 38% deck). Whether the materials are made of stone, cement, gravel or wood, a level, sturdy surface is the foundation of your outdoor project, and should be the first step. Barbecues tied with fire pits (48% each) as planned entertaining elements. Sound systems (19%) were the more popular choice over outdoor kitchens (14%).
Other motivating factors show that homeowners are thinking more practically: 19% want to cut back on watering, 27% want to expand their available living space, 34% have an eye for improving their home's value, and 44% want to make their yards more functional. Water―or lack of it―was a big motivation for those in the west, where water storage is crucial for 30% and artificial turf is gaining in popularity (16%) because of drought.
Working with the Environment
Survey results indicate that letting the environment help form your decisions can also benefit the budget long term. Native plants were an overwhelmingly popular choice by those surveyed (92%). A little greenery softens the tone of an outdoor living area, and plants suited to the region will require the least maintenance.
Many homeowners need some help getting started on their landscaping project. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents would hire a landscape designer to start their project and 51% plan to hire a landscape contractor to help them finish the project.