It may not be obvious as you drive down the street, but theres a minor revolution taking place in Americas backyards. Behind those picket fences, we are retreating to the backyard after long work weeks and relaxing on our decks, porches, and patios. Were fleeing the comfort of air-conditioned interiors to cook, dine, and entertain alfresco. Were escaping to backyard playgrounds, courts, and pools for hours of family fun and games. Now that weve rediscovered the joys of staying at home, were finding new ways to spend that time outdoors.
This shift toward outdoor living is changing the way we design backyards. Large expanses of green grass are surrendering to smaller patches of more easily managed lawn. Long, regimented rows of vegetables are being replaced by small yet efficient kitchen gardens planted just outside the back door. Folding chairs on concrete surfaces are being deserted for cushioned sofas on flagstone patios and redwood decks, often flanked by cozy fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, and soothing water features. The lines between indoors and out are forever blurred.
Our concept of backyard activities is expanding, too. Swings may never lose their attraction, but they are just one element in a backyard playground that also includes slides, forts, bridges, and climbing structures. Badminton nets and croquet hoops are still common, but so are bike paths, bocce courts, and putting greens. And swimming pools -- once little more than rectangular holes in the groundnow run the gamut from pint-sized plunge pools and long, narrow lap pools to naturalistic pools with boulders, beaches, and waterfalls.
In Backyard Idea Book, youll get a look at the latest trends in outdoor design to help you sort through the many new products and innovative ideas designed for outdoor living. And youll find inspiration for enhancing your own backyard with inviting spaces in which youll want to spend many sunny afternoons and starry evenings while relaxing among family and friends.