By Debbi Mayster | Contributor
“Backyarding” – the trend to move indoor activities outdoors that was made popular during the pandemic – is here to stay and will continue to expand in 2022, according to the TurfMutt Foundation, an environmental education and stewardship program that encourages outdoor living and caring for green spaces.
“Backyarding is a way of life now,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and its parent organization the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Homeowners spent lots of time, money and effort over the last eighteen months improving their backyards to make them an extension of their homes so they could work, cook, exercise and even vacation outdoors. We believe people will continue to ‘backyard more’ in the coming year and beyond.”
The TurfMutt Foundation predicts the following backyarding trends for 2022:
Lines between the indoors and the outdoors will continue to blur. Doors and windows will be opened to the great outdoors and more people will enjoy breakfast or a nightcap on the deck. Decorating choices will marry the outside and the inside, with colors and tones that provide more visual connection between indoor areas and the backyard, for a seamless transition.
Offices will turn to the outdoors. There will be no need to turn to technology to create a virtual backdrop for video calls. The natural setting created by the yard’s living landscape – trees, flowers, bushes and other plants – is the best video call background, bar none. Privacy screens, electrical outlets and wifi extenders could become more common backyard amenities.
Balconies, porches, window boxes and patios will be maximized. Think tuning up the volume on these additional outdoor spaces and you’ve got the idea. Seating, flowers, potted plants, curtains and more make these areas sparkle as places for retreat and socialization.
Kids (and adults) will spend more time outside learning. The backyard or park become an even bigger living laboratory for learning. Kids will likely take online classes or do homework under the shade of a tree, in an outdoor classroom at school, or at a patio or picnic table. They brush up on STEM concepts (see TurfMutt’s free lesson plans for help!) by planting and studying flowers, bugs, and weather. Gardens for vegetables educate families on where food comes from and nesting boxes or bat boxes for wildlife showcase the nature around them.
Al fresco dining will become the norm. Grills, pizza ovens and overhead lighting with seating make many homes outdoor eateries for families and neighbors. Interest in outdoor kitchens, pergolas, shade sails and landscaping will define and enhance outdoor dining.
Business deals get cooked up in backyards. While socializing around fire pits and watching the kids play soccer on the lawn, adults will have the informal conversations that used to happen in other venues. Games of croquet and cornhole could turn easily into business networking opportunities.
The backyard will be the first place people turn to for relaxation and stress relief. Yoga, hammocks, reading nooks, calming water features and garden elements, and more add spa-like features to the backyard. More people will plant with peace of mind at heart, adding colors that make them feel good, while aiming for sensory or emotional connections.
Outdoor entertainment will evolve. Movie projectors with sound systems and outdoor screens turn the yard into a theater under the stars. Expect to see more fire pits, outdoor games and more that enhance outdoor recreation.
Homeowners will plant with wildlife in mind. Knowing the backyard is a habitat for pollinators, insects, birds, and other wildlife, homeowners likely will choose plants, trees and shrubs that nurture and support wildlife – delighting in discovering them.
Pampering pets will only increase. Fencing, sandpiles for digging, dog houses, and even agility courses for pets to enjoy are going to become more common.
More people will discover their backyarding personality types – and design a yard that matches their outdoor lifestyles. They will map out their yards, take an inventory of tools and equipment available to create and maintain their dream, and then work hard to create a defined backyard that meets their needs over the coming year.
Editor’s Note: For more, sign up for Mutt Mail, a monthly e-newsletter with backyarding tips and all the news from the TurfMutt Foundation here.
Ami Neiberger-Miller, Four Leaf PR on behalf of the TurfMutt Foundation, 703-887-4877, firstname.lastname@example.org
, Four Leaf PR on behalf of the TurfMutt Foundation, 240-988-6243, email@example.com
• Green space and park use was associated with less emotional distress among U.S. college students during the pandemic.
• College-age people experience mental health benefits after spending as little as 10-20 minutes in nature.
• People living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress.
• Family leisure time in a community park provides space and time for strengthening family bonds and for enhancing self-satisfaction and happiness.
• Children feel better physically and mentally after spending some time outside in nature.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017-2020 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.