Try These Hot Backyard Design Ideas

Gardens: Totally Organic Experiences

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2013 Residential Design Trends Survey,gardens are among the most sought-after outdoor design elements overall . The ASLA asked residential landscape architects to rate the expected popularity of outdoor design elements for the year and gardens are a front-runner at 94%. Proof that the local food movement is gaining traction? The survey also predicts an increase in people opting for fruit and vegetable gardens (76.4% popularity) and that organic gardens are becoming more in-demand (up to 65.3% versus 61.2% in the 2011 survey).

Fire Pits: Burning Up the Charts

The popularity of gardens may seem a bit predictable. The real breakout stars of the ASLA survey are fire pits (like this one built by Carter Oosterhouse) and fireplaces at 97% popularity. They’re so hot, they just edged out our next fiery feature…

Grills: Your Backyard BBQ HQs

Grills may have been beaten by fire pits in this popularity contest, but they aren’t going anywhere. Sure, you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a pit, but for flame-broiled burgers? You gotta fire up that grill.

Hardscapes: A Lush Landscape’s Perfect Partner

Homeowners and landscaping experts agree: work one or more of the types of hardscape into your backyard for a professionally planned look. Stacked stone retaining walls, paver patios and meandering pathways are just a few of the hottest hardscapes to try. Learn more about these durable outdoor surfaces.

Outdoor Dining Areas: Alfresco, Elevated

Dining areas are a must-have outdoor living feature lately, at 96.3% popularity. After all, everything tastes better when enjoyed in the great outdoors. To ensure maximum comfort, choose comfortable chairs with durable cushions so dinner guests will linger for coffee and conversation.

Decks: Taking Living Outdoors

Extending your home’s indoor living space into the backyard, decks are a must-have for many homeowners and pros alike with an 80.9% rating. For a low-maintenance surface that will stand the test of time, opt for composite materials over traditional wood.

Arbors: Stylish Structures

Arbors are looking especially attractive right now at 83.5% popularity. They’re a romantic touch in gardens, and as this Going Yard example shows, excellent at providing transitions between two spaces.