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Yards Get New Life Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The value of a comfortable living space became clear early in the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting people to take up various hobbies, from bread-making to crafting. And it seems the same is true for those lucky enough to own a home with a yard, according to a new survey from Alexandria, Va.-based TurfMutt Foundation, an organization focused on outdoor educational activities.

Fielded by The Harris Poll, the foundation survey looks at how people use their yards and plan to invest in outdoor spaces. Here’s what it found.

Pandemic reshapes how Americans — especially parents with young kids — use their yards

When you’re stuck indoors every day, it makes sense that you’d value outdoor space. And 63% of Americans who have a yard say they’ve enjoyed doing more in the yard since the pandemic’s onset. In fact, 73% of parents with kids younger than 18 say the same.

So while some might see outdoor space as a luxury, many of those lucky enough to have access to it aren’t taking it for granted. In fact, it’s even become another extension of the office for 58% of Americans who have a yard. This is more common among men (63%) and parents with kids younger than 18 (71%).

Despite the massive shift to a home working environment, this increased yard use isn’t all about productivity: It’s also a place to de-stress. And more than two-thirds of Americans who have a yard say doing yard work, like mowing or planting, is one of the ways they de-stress. Again, parents of young children are more likely to fall into this group (76%).

Americans plan on investing in their outdoor spaces

More than 4 in 5 Americans who have a yard plan to invest in it this year. And for most (67%), that means buying plants, trees, flowers or vegetables they will plant. And nearly 40% will buy items specifically to maintain or improve their grassy areas.

But not everyone is going the DIY route. In fact, 33% of those with a yard will hire a professional to do landscaping or hardscaping this year. Some other planned yard improvements include installing a fence (19%) or shed (15%) and getting a swimming pool (10%).

Again, these are more common among parents with kids younger than 18 than those who don’t have children in that age range. For instance, they’re both more likely to invest in their yard by purchasing plants they’ll plant themselves (73%) and to have plans to hire a professional to do landscaping or hardscaping (47%).

Not only could those kinds of upgrades improve the appeal of their yards, but they could also help build their home’s equity. However, the impact of those changes will depend on many factors, like their neighborhood and how much they have to invest in such changes.

This increased interest in yard space may also extend to the real estate market in the future. In fact, 72% of Americans say having a spacious yard would top their homebuying wish list if they were looking. While it isn’t clear if this trend will come to fruition for consumers looking to sell or buy, it’s clear that Americans are reevaluating the way they live amid the pandemic. And that doesn’t stop at their front door.

Methodology: The TurfMutt Foundation commissioned The Harris Poll to survey 2,012 U.S. adults, of which 1,728 have a yard. The survey was fielded between Feb. 1-3, 2022.