Summer has finally arrived, and that means it’s time for cookouts, swimming pools, and working on that tan. North Carolinians know a thing or two about backyard fun. We like to enjoy the warm weather and sunny days as much as possible.

There’s a new living trend that has continued to grow over recent years: outdoor living spaces.   People no longer view their backyards as the space to cook burgers.  North Carolinians now view their backyards as extensions of their indoor spaces.

And it’s not just us either: according to the American Home Furnishings Alliance, “more than 70 percent of U.S. households have outdoor living spaces, and nearly 70 percent of those households use these spaces at least once per week in season.”

Everyone is getting excited about outdoor living, and new trends for décor, landscaping, gardening, and more emerge every year. Here are 10 of North Carolina’s hottest trends for backyard living in 2018:

1. Indoor Furniture, Outside

 

 

People like to take outdoor furniture to the next level. Couches, cushioned chairs, and even canopied beds can be found in North Carolina backyards.

There are many styles available that provide the comfort and style of indoor furniture and the ease of cleaning and durability of outdoor furniture. Add a cabana shade or a canopy, and you can stay cool and comfortable in your backyard all day.

2. Retaining Walls

 

 

Residents of the Tar Heel State are adding retaining walls to their backyard landscaping. It’s a great way to add visual interest and dimension to your backyard using natural stone.

North Carolinians add plants on top of the wall and along the ground to create a dynamic visual statement. Retaining walls add tons of design to your backyard living space with relatively little time or effort required.

3. North Carolina Native Plants

 

 

As people become more aware of environmental concerns, the demand for native flowers and greenery has increased dramatically.

You can find plenty of native trees, shrubs, vines, flowers and more that require little watering and maintenance. For example, this Fire Pink flower has a beautiful pink bloom that lasts from May-July and provides a lot of greenery to cover the ground too.

4. Water Features

 

 

While pools and hot tubs are always a summer favorite, many people are adding extra water features to their backyard. You’ll find multi-tiered fish ponds, large waterfall features, dainty birdbaths and more.

The combination of the cool water and the relaxing trickling sound makes for a pleasant environment to sit and sip some iced tea.

5. Living Walls

 

For those who like to do DIY projects, a living wall is an easy and inexpensive display that adds tons of visual interest to your backyard living space.

With a sturdy trellis, some small planters, and an afternoon, you can build a living wall suitable for HGTV. They’re also versatile in what you want to add. Succulents, ferns, flowers, and vines all look great on a living wall.

6. Shady Pergolas

 

 

Pergolas have been around for a while, but people continue to pick them as the ideal shade for their yards. These give you just the right amount of shade without having to perform maintenance like with awnings and pop-open shades.

Wooden pergolas add a beautiful natural touch to your yard that’s much more attractive than a typical awning. Add some vines over the top for some green coverage you’ll love to sit under all day.

7. Firepits

 

 

Is there anything more American than gathering around a fire at night and roasting marshmallows?

Installing a stylish firepit into your backyard allows you to do that in the comfort of your own home. North Carolinians enjoy firepits because they are great for night-time parties. There’s just something so fun and cozy about sitting around a roaring fire.

8. Nighttime Lighting

 

 

A simple back porch light doesn’t cut it for backyards today.

String lights, café lights, LED spotlights and more are popping up in backyards all over the state. The soft, twinkling lights create an inviting atmosphere to relax in at the end of a long day. This is another fun idea you can get creative with because they look good almost anywhere.

9. Vegetable Garden

 

 

The entire country has a new obsession with sustainable living, and growing your own fruits and vegetables goes hand in hand with that.

According to a recent survey, gardening popularity is up 17% over the last five years. Big planting beds look beautiful in your yard once the plants start popping up. Or, you could keep it simple with hanging planters or small pots.  Few things are more rewarding in life than eating a meal with food that you grew.

10. Hardscaping Design

 

 

Hardscaping is taking backyards to whole new levels of inviting design. When done properly, hardscapes finish out the look of your yard as an extension of your home. Use natural stone and organic shapes in the design to flow nicely with the natural elements in your yard like the trees, grass, and the plants.

Conclusion

There are so many ways to transform your yard from ignored grill storage to a true living space. Whether through DIY projects or calling in the experts, making your backyard more livable is like adding an extra room to your house. To get started on lawn care, check out our post on landscape watering maintenance.