The saying, ‘put your best foot forward,’ is certainly ringing true with nearly half of landscaping projects focused on the front yard (44%), according to our 2017 U.S. Landscaping Trends Study. The survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. homeowners who are planning, in the midst of, or recently completed an outdoor project, found that these new looks are being driven by environmentally conscious decisions, pressures from a homeowners association and the desire to personalize a new home.
Of the three-quarters of homeowners who have a lawn, 76% make changes to it during an outdoor project. Front yard lawns are much more likely to be removed altogether than back or side lawns (26% versus 9%, respectively), with environmental considerations being a stronger motivator for front lawns (44% versus 26%, respectively).
Among those reducing or removing their existing lawns, ground cover plants (55%) and mulch (50%) are favored for front yards. More than half of those updating their front yards say that beds or borders (47%), shrubs (29%), and perennials (28%) are the most important features of their home’s curb appeal. Other top features include trees (18%), lighting (16%) and pathways (13%).
This also provides ample opportunity for homeowners to differentiate their frontage from the rest of the neighborhood, letting their unique personalities shine. Only 6% of front yards are nearly identical to others in the neighborhood after outdoor projects, compared with over a third before the update (36%). Two in five front yards are very or extremely different from others in the neighborhood post-update (41%).
All differentiation is within reason depending on where you live. One in four outdoor projects (23%) is subject to local restrictions or requirements, such as homeowner and/or neighborhood associations (23% and 5%, respectively). In the absence of those rules, nearly one in four homeowners would either take on a different project or skip the project altogether (13% and 3%, respectively). Find out any HOA boundaries before you take a shovel to the soil!
While the term ‘curb appeal’ is often associated with real estate listings, the highest motivation for starting a landscaping project is led by homeowners who have purchased a home and want to personalize it (33%). This is followed closely by those who pursue an outdoor project because elements of the outdoor space have deteriorated and/or broken down (32%). Other projects are driven by homeowners who have wanted to do it all along and finally have the time (28%) or financial means (25%) to do it.
Whatever the motivation, a secondary result from outdoor projects might surprise you. One in five homeowners reports more interaction with next-door neighbors post-project (18%), which ranges from small talk (71%) and providing help when needed (42%) to sharing drinks or meals with each other (32% and 28%, respectively). Interactions with neighbors increase twice as much for new homebuyers (40%), pointing to outdoor projects as ice breakers when moving into a new neighborhood.
You can read the full report here.