Open concept backyards are over – a new garden design trend is in town this year

Open-plan garden design is falling out of favor with garden owners, says report – here's what's coming instead

family garden ideas: playhouse at end of garden
(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

The open concept backyard trend is dead, according to a recent garden trends report. Open concept backyard design is part of a wider taste for open-concept spaces that has dominated home design for quite a few years. 

From open-plan kitchens that extend outdoors to seamlessly link up with your backyard ideas to clever solutions that create a courtyard-like continuous space, open concept was the most in-demand contemporary style for the outdoors.

Not anymore, according to the Yardzen Summer 2021 report. The trend this year is very much for zoning and enclosing – here are the most important elements of the new backyard trend.

1. Demand for privacy has surged

tropical garden design ideas

(Image credit: Alasdair McIntosh/Future)

As the report says, 'People were already re-thinking ‘'open concept’' before 2020, and the pandemic fast-tracked the desire for more walls in the home. Whether to create separation from spouses in a new work from home situation or kids tackling Zoom school in the kitchen while you’re preparing lunch, more walls = more privacy.'

This increased desire for privacy makes the garden a more covetable space than ever – and a garden with private, secluded areas that utilize garden privacy ideas including fencing, walls and raised patio areas, is top of the agenda. The idea is to create a 'multi-functional' space that allows different family members to do different things in the garden at the same time. 

2. The outdoor room is having a moment

Pergola ideas with colorful cushions and corner sofa

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies/Future)

Patio ideas were already looking increasingly like outdoor rooms even before the pandemic, but now, 'distinct ''rooms'' are being created in the yard, designating specific areas for dining, working, exercising, gardening, and more.' 

The rise of the outdoor room as opposed just a regular patio has resulted from garden owners wanting to stay out for longer – that requires overall greater comfort levels with things like the best outdoor furniture and outdoor heating. So instead of a patio with a dining area we are increasingly seeing outdoor living space ideas catering to a whole day (and evening) spent outdoors. 

3. The demand for pergolas has exploded

fairy lights around pergola

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

A pergola is one of the easiest ways to instantly frame an outdoor space – it is literally a frame-like structure, after all.  Yardzen said: 'Pergolas are a perfect solution for designating areas for specific activities. Both prefab and custom pergolas are being included in designs as a way to create independent spaces within your yard.' 

Some of the most popular pergola ideas at the moment include garden seating that has been enclosed inside the pergola to create a quiet and meditative space that's more secluded than a more open design patio. 

All these elements point to a major shift in how we use our backyards – we use them for longer periods of time than we used to and we want our gardens to rival our indoors spaces for comfort and style. 

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.