Thinking about extending your home renovation all the way to the curb? You’re not alone. According to online landscape design firm Yardzen, 2023 is the year of the yard remodel—since last spring, its designers have seen a 15-percent increase in Denver clients looking to revamp their outdoor spaces. We asked Kevin Lenhart, Yardzen’s design director, to tell us more about three outdoor design trends heating up this summer in Colorado and beyond.

TREND: Flexible front yards

Yardzen rendering of a flexible front yard. Courtesy of Yardzen

No longer just a showpiece, the front yard is doubling as a gathering and gardening zone. “We’re getting requests for front yard seating areas, fire pits, and vegetable gardens,” Lenhart says, adding that dynamic front yards create more opportunities to interact with neighbors. “It’s one thing to schedule a social engagement and meet with someone in your backyard, but that’s a different experience than running into someone out front,” he says. “Essentially, I think this is a different expression of the pandemic-era porch hangout.”

TREND: A shaggy, organic style

Many homeowners are opting for the loose, unfussy look of wildflowers and other native species over prim and proper plants. These varieties “don’t use excessive water, typically don’t require fertilizer, and do provide a healthy habitat [for fauna],” Lenhart says. But this natural style isn’t just environmentally friendly, he adds. “It also looks gorgeous, has dynamism, and evolves throughout the seasons.” Tip: To achieve the organic look, Lenhart says, avoid planting in geometric and rigid lines, then contrast that wild flora with clean, crisp hardscapes. “The straight line of a path or a concrete retaining wall is balanced by those shaggy edges,” he explains. It’s a look that, like Denver, is both untamed and refined.

TREND: Health and wellness spaces

Yardzen rendering of an outdoor wellness space. Courtesy of Yardzen

Yardzen has seen an uptick in Colorado clients’ requests for features typically found at a posh spa (read: cedar hot tubs, cold plunge pools, prefabricated saunas, and pergola-shaded daybeds). “[We’re creating more] spaces for relaxation and restoration that establish some sort of connection with nature,” Lenhart says. With the advent of well-designed prefabricated options, these aspirational features have become more accessible to homeowners. “[Wellness spaces are] no longer reserved for the very wealthy in large houses,” Lenhart says. “For example, prefab plunge pools are a fantastic alternative to a swimming pool: They cost less, require less maintenance, and have a much smaller footprint.”

This article was originally published in 5280 Home June/July 2023.
Josie Sexton
Josie Sexton
Josie Sexton is a contributor to 5280, where she covers topics ranging from gardening to home goods to dining destinations.