Like all fashion trends, landscaping styles come and go—something that can prove troublesome when it comes time to sell your home. Dealing with the master bath’s wallpaper (the one with a motivational saying whose stylish font had such a modern feel 15 years ago) may be an easy fix—but abandoning a formerly trendy rolling barn door room separator can involve a good deal of architectural reengineering.
One recent piece by commentator Lauren Wellbank, a freelance writer with a decade’s experience in the mortgage industry, pointed out some emerging trends in buyers’ preferences when it comes to outdoor spaces. In the same way that interior designers can glance at a listing’s photos and immediately pinpoint when the property’s signature style was last updated, landscaping styles also come and go. In the post-pandemic era, it is expected that some prospective buyers may be spending many more hours working from home. Properties that seem made to order for such post-pandemic lifestyles may earn new acclaim—and the opposite may hold, too.
Wellbank fears that four previously popular landscaping motifs might find themselves among the endangered:
- Outdoor Spaces That are “Look Only.” There is a notable trend among younger property owners to shy away from yards that can’t be “relaxed in” or that can’t be utilized. Spaces that are landscaped with herb gardens are in; those dominated by the highly ornamental designs that were popular a few years back, less so.
- Un-Green Greenery. The trend here is to climate-conscious landscaping—plantings that avoid the need for constant watering and maintenance. Although not universally true, there is also a noticeable shift away from flowering plants that require regular pruning, feeding, and/or spraying. Although author Wellbank doesn’t mention it, this point sounds like earlier decades’ similar fascination with “xeriscaping”—using native plants to minimize irrigation requirements.
- Formal Gardens. Along the same theme, lower-maintenance gardens have the advantage over their high-maintenance alternatives. One Realtor® is quoted as saying that although people are spending more time at home, “that doesn’t mean we have more time on our hands” (you might add, ‘and knees’).
- Yards Designed to Impress Others. This, as with the first observation, sees today’s buyers being more concerned with comfort and utility than with the former trend “of square hotel-style furniture…that felt like you were at a fancy nightclub.” Although garden furniture may not be part of a home’s offering, the overall ambiance is an important part of a property’s show-worthiness.
Taking advantage of emerging buyer preferences can sometimes be accomplished easily—but it’s first necessary to be aware of what they are. Call a professional when it’s time to chat about the latest market intelligence from the field!