Residential Landscape Survey & Homeowner Types

74% of homeowners said they are likely to make more landscape improvements over the next two years. But will it be a kid zone, zen retreat, or entertainment space?

“Yard shame” is limiting 66% of homeowners from hosting gatherings outside as much as they’d like to. Photo: AdobeStock/rh2010.

A national survey of American homeowners by NaturaLawn® of America, found “yard shame” is preventing 66% of respondents from hosting gatherings outside as much as they’d like to. Conducted in honor of national lawn care month on behalf of the organic-based lawn care provider, the survey also found that 56% of homeowners surveyed said they were less likely to host an event inside if their yard doesn’t look great.

Survey Of Homeowners

The NaturaLawn of America survey also found that in addition to worrying about the appearance of their own yard, Americans care about their neighbor’s yard too. So much so that 36% of respondents admitted to crossing property lines into a neighbor’s lawn to pull weeds, trim shrubs or limbs, mow a portion of their lawn, or rake leaves. Another 10% have been tempted to. The survey also found that 32% of homeowners have been annoyed by either the appearance or lack of maintenance of a neighbor’s front yard.

The survey also examined Americans’ investment in their outdoor spaces since the pandemic is likely to continue. 85% of respondents reported making some improvements to their yards (landscaping, patios, decks, fire pits and playscapes as top investments) during the last five years, and 74% said they are likely to make more improvements over the next two years.

As the housing market heats up again this Spring, it’s important to note the value homebuyers place on a lawn when looking for a new home. The survey found that more than three out of four (76%) of homeowners say that If they were looking for a new home, it would be important that it had a well-maintained lawn.

Importance Of Home Landscape

“The results from this survey illustrate that Americans care deeply about the appearance of their lawn and their neighbor’s too, and also shows the impact it can have on socializing with friends and family,” commented Phil Catron, president and founder of NaturaLawn of America. “Not surprisingly, there has been continued investment in lawns and outdoor spaces post-COVID that will… help families enjoy their spaces now and when they go to buy or sell a home — further illustrating how central a healthy, well-maintained lawn is to homeowners’ lives.”

As people have integrated their yards into their everyday life, it’s a trend-turned-lifestyle the TurfMutt Foundation calls “backyarding,” and it means landscapers have become even more important than ever. “Landscape contractors bring the outdoors to life for homeowners, their families, and their pets,” explains Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation, which is celebrating 15 years of teaching families “how to save the planet one yard at a time.” (Kiser is also the President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, or OPEI, which among other things, hosts the Equip Exposition in Louisville, KY every year.) “Knowing your customers’ backyarding personality types helps you create a yard that not only brings joy and shows off their sense of style but also builds your business in the process,” adds Kiser.

Backyarding Types

On the cusp of the busy Spring landscape season, the TurfMutt Foundation shares these backyarding personality types with landscapers to help them bolster their business by becoming invaluable “yard your way” advocates for their customers.

Photo: TurfMutt

Landscaper Type: Takes pride in maintaining their own yard but knows when to enlist professional help. These DIY landscapers know how to maintain a healthy yard that makes neighbors green with envy. Leave the weekly maintenance to them and focus on securing bigger jobs like seasonal clean-up, resodding an entire yard, planting new flower beds, installing an irrigation system, and adding hardscaping.

Entertainer Extraordinaire: Their yard is the neighborhood hot spot. This backyarder wants their outdoor space to merge seamlessly with their indoor living areas. Seating is a must, so identify conversation areas in the yard that can be designated with pavers, plantings, and maybe even a pergola complete with string lights. A backyard fire pit adds a nice touch, and colorful plantings in beds or pots finish the look. Adding landscape lighting is an excellent way to create a real “mood” for the space.  If the homeowner has the budget for it, design an outdoor kitchen and bar.

Nature Lover: Prefers “backyard TV” to any other form of entertainment. Nature Lovers need a yard that attracts wildlife year-round, so recommend native plants and a diversity of species that bloom throughout the year to feed and shelter backyard wildlife and pollinators. A pond or birdbath gives backyard critters a place to hydrate and bathe, while adding a beautiful feature to the landscape.

Photo: AdobeStock/kerkezz

• Work from Home Pro: Makes business deals in the backyard. For the budget-conscious work-from-backyarder, help them identify a quiet corner of the yard for their office set-up. Suggest shrubbery to create privacy, shade trees and heaters for comfort, flower beds for ambiance, and lighting to enable them to extend their workdays. If the homeowner has the space and money to do so, you could also install an “office shed” with all of the comforts of an indoor workspace, and landscaping that ties it in with the rest of the yard.

Kid Zone Creator: When kids are in the picture, it’s all about creating fun zones outside. Families with kids will want to create an engaging, safe space in their backyard. Help them develop “zones” for the various activities they can do as a family – a large patch of turfgrass for sports, a zipline in between two towering trees, a pool for family fun days, and maybe even a bed that can be used for gardening.

Pet Pamperer: Needs backyard space for pets and people. Pet Pamperers go all out for their furry friends and want to create a backyard that is perfect for pets and their people (in that order!). Brush up on your knowledge of pet-friendly plantings (the ASPCA has a list of non-toxic plants that are safe for pets) and recommend landscape plans accordingly. A large area of hardy turfgrass is a great place to start. You can also recommend plantings to separate dog and people areas. A splash pool, digging zone, large shade trees, and of course a fence are also good investments for Pet Pamperers.

Outdoor Athlete: Uses their yard as a home gym. To help the Outdoor Athlete score a perfect 10 in their backyard workout room, recommend a strip of grass for doing sprints and lunges, as well as laying out a mat for post-workout stretches. For a bigger budget, you could suggest a pergola structure or sun shade over a portion of the patio to offer some protection for outdoor gym equipment. Or partner with a pool installer to add a lap pool to the mix that blends seamlessly into the landscape.

Zen Master: Their backyard is a five-star spa. Carefully planned plantings that look natural in their setting fits the Zen Master theme. Perhaps they need a covered patio under which to meditate or a water feature to drown out neighborhood noise. Privacy is integral to relaxation, so use plants to create a natural barrier in the backyard Zen zone.

For more, sign up for Mutt Mail, a monthly e-newsletter with backyarding tips and all the news from the TurfMutt Foundation here. Look for Mulligan the TurfMutt on the CBS Lucky Dog television show.

For more on landscape improvement, see:

2024 Landscape Trends From The National Association Of Landscape Professionals

Get Equipped: Design-Build Equipment

Lakeside Landscape Project: Manitou Watch

Top Landscape Designs From Colorado In 2023


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