Backyarding – the trend to use the backyard for everything from tele-working
and working out to relaxing and recreating – has a different purpose for each
of us. Identifying your backyard’s role in your family’s health and happiness
is the key to cultivating a purposeful outdoor space that is customized to your
“How do you a create a more purposeful outdoor space? First, you need to
identify what type of ‘backyarder’ you are,” explains Kris Kiser, President
& CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment
Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt
Foundation. “Then, you can get to work in your yard with that idea in
Here are just a few of the backyarding personality types. Which one(s) are
• Expert Landscaper
Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy
living landscape all year long, and you have the latest outdoor power equipment
to make even big jobs easier. Your idea of a good time? Spending the weekend
doing yardwork. You love the sense of accomplishment that comes from working in
your yard, and friends can count on you for advice about their own living
You know that nature starts in your own backyard and that taking small steps in
your yard can make a big impact on climate change. As the proverbial Robin to
your yard’s Batman, you embrace your role in supporting the superhero powers of
your living landscape (capturing and filtering rainwater, producing oxygen, and
absorbing carbon just to name a few).
• Nature Lover
No binging Netflix for you. You subscribe to “Nature TV” and prefer to spend
your free time watching the birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife that
count on your yard for food and shelter. You cultivate a living landscape that
supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water
sources, and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.
The USDA Plant Hardiness
Zone Map is bookmarked on your browser because putting the right plant in
the right place is the living landscape Golden Rule you live by. You consider
location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements, as well as your
climate zone and lifestyle needs, before you even think about sticking your
shovel in the dirt.
You know the safest place for your kids to be is in your own backyard, and you
work hard to create an outdoor fun zone they will never want to leave. A flat
area of sturdy turfgrass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse?
Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden
where they can help grow the family’s meals? Check. Natural playscapes, like a
patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check. “Fun” is your
middle name, and you are winning at this game.
Your focus is on Fido, and you take cues from your four-legged friends about
how to purpose your backyard. You’ve planted sturdy turfgrass like Buffalo or
Bermuda that can stand up to pet play, and you’ve used soft foliage to create a
natural barricade between “off limits” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees
and shrubs are strategically planted for shade, and you’ve even set up a
shallow water feature to help your pup cool off on hot days. Planting with
purpose for you means keeping toxic plants out of the picture. (For a complete
list, visit ASPCA’s list
of non-toxic and toxic plants.)
• Entertainer Extraordinaire
Your backyard was the neighborhood hot spot long before the pandemic made that
trend posh. Family milestones, birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially
distanced BBQs – your yard is *the* place to gather. Your yard is set up for
success with patio furniture, fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating,
string lights, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.
Enjoying your morning coffee on the balcony as songbirds serenade you.
Meditating under the shade of a tree. De-stressing by swinging in a backyard
hammock. Taking a break from your busy day to feel the sun on your face and the
breeze in your hair. Your backyard is your sacred space for rest, relaxation
and rejuvenation. You know that spending time outside is good for your health
and well-being, and that thanks to your yard these benefits are only steps
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news from the TurfMutt Foundation here.
To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.com.