Why Has 2021 Been Dubbed the “Year of the Yard” for Many Americans?

2020 was named the unofficial “Year of Home” in the US, owing to the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Stay-at-home orders and all-out lockdowns saw millions confined to their homes indefinitely, resulting in a massive DIY-related spending spree.

With little choice, other than to make the most of the great indoors, Americans in droves set their sights on improving their homes. A luxurious living room suite, a bespoke farmhouse table for the dining room, a well-deserved big-screen TV upgrade – all justifiable as the world fell apart outdoors.

Fast forward 12 months and the year that followed would go on to be named the equally unofficial “Year of the Yard”. Research conducted by the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) found that by mid-2021, Americans in general had turned their attention away from the indoors to focus firmly on their gardens.

Nine Out of 10 Americans Unhappy with Their Gardens

At the time of the study, it was found that almost 90% of Americans were not happy with their yards. 66% said that the visual appeal of their outdoor spaces wasn’t up to scratch, while 56% said the functionality of their gardens was unsatisfactory. In addition, 45% voiced their disdain with the lack of comfort their outdoor spaces provided at the time.

All interesting figures, particularly given how more than 90% said that comfortable and functional outdoor spaces were more crucial than ever before.  And it’s not as if those turning attention to their gardens last year completely overlooked them the year before. Almost 80% polled by the ICFA said they had made at least some remedial improvements to their yards in 2020.

Still, it was clear that more people intended to spend significantly more money on their gardens in 2021 than the year prior. For example, almost 60% said they would be buying new accessories and furniture for their gardens last year, up more than twice from the 23% recorded in 2020.

All of which looks set to continue throughout 2022 and beyond, as Americans place even greater emphasis on the importance of comfortable outdoor spaces.

“At the beginning of 2020, we were focused on creating outdoor spaces that complement our homes and lifestyles,” commented Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the ICFA.

“Today we are creating outdoor spaces that supplement our sense of wellbeing and transform an outdoor area into an outdoor room.”

Tackling Nature Deficit Disorder

The phenomenon known as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is unknown to most, though has been identified as a growing threat. Incredibly, research conducted by the EPA suggests that the average American spends at least 90% of their time indoors.

Something that poses a major risk to our physical or mental health, along with our general everyday wellbeing.

“As people continue to be overworked and overwrought, they will answer the call of nature,” comments the Global Wellness Summit.

“Nature Deficit Disorder has taken hold, and it’s real—this 24/7, digitally dominated, Instagram-able world is depriving humankind of some very basic, very important nourishment that comes from being outdoors.”

Speaking on behalf of Yardzen, a popular outdoor design and landscaping service, CEO and co-founder Allison Messner said that the pandemic has completely transformed the way most people look at their gardens and outdoor spaces.

“For a very long time, our yards were the only greenspace we could access,” she said.

“As a result, the way we live in those outdoor spaces have changed, becoming the only accessible playground for our children, as well as their classroom and also our workplace,”

“People want an outdoor space that reflects the same stylistic rigor that is afforded to the interior of their home,”.

“They want a styled outdoor space with multiple rooms and separate and distinct areas for different purposes.”

Consequently, 19% of those polled by the International Casual Furnishings Association said they planned on purchasing sofas or sectional furniture, 25% set their sights on umbrellas and parasols, 28% planned to buy dining tables and 34% were to upgrade their outdoor lighting.

Right at the top of the table came fire pits and grills – planned purchases for no less than 35% of those polled.

According to Allison Messner, more households than ever before are viewing their front yards and more exposed exterior spaces with renewed fondness.

“Pre-pandemic we did most of our socializing in the backyard, where we had space for dining tables and fire pits for private time,” Messner says.

“But now people are looking to enhance the usefulness of the front yard where they can interact with the rest of the neighborhood and socialize while remaining socially-distant.”

Far from a passing fad, the vast majority of interior and exterior design experts believe the “Year of the Yard” is here to stay.

Show More