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Alt text: A man and woman walk two dogs through a park in Reed’s Crossing.

03 March . 2022

Outdoor Living Trends for 2022

For American homeowners, a large backyard has long been a status symbol, and for many it used to top the list of “must-haves” when searching for a new home. However, as the balance tips toward shoppers looking for small-footprint homes, cities are focusing on denser housing — leaving some to ask, “Where have all the big yards gone?”

How big is the average backyard?
You’re not imagining things — across the United States, yards are smaller than they used to be. Since the ’90s, average lot sizes have decreased by around 15% while home sizes have increased by about 10%, which simply means there is less space for a yard. And according to HomeAdvisor, lot and yard sizes in Oregon are among the smallest in the country. 

But there is a flip side: in general, states with a high percentage of public land — like national parks, beaches, and campgrounds — tend to have the smallest yards. In the 50 states, the average for federally-owned land is just 27 percent; however, Oregon boasts a whopping 53 percent! So no matter the size of your backyard, you'll have the chance to enjoy everything nature has to offer.

Why outdoor space is important to well-being
Late last year, a New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) survey revealed some interesting insights around how homebuyers think about outdoor space post-pandemic. In the Pacific Northwest, 60% of homeowners reported that outdoor space was more important since the pandemic began. Fortunately, Oregon is a veritable playground for those who love the outdoors; in less than 12 hours, you could drive from the beach to wine country to waterfalls to the desert. And for those in Hillsboro, a community like Reed’s Crossing — designed with 4x the required amount of open space — offers homeowners the flexibility to customize their best indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

With more of the workforce working from home, the survey also found that a third of young homeowners have remodeled their outdoor space since the pandemic began, citing the fact that remote work meant they could use the space during the workday. But working all day in the same place, without engaging your senses, can be boring. To boost serotonin levels and get a change of scenery, our community is designed with plenty of walking, running, and biking paths as well as spaces to sit and relax outside — from parks and outdoor meeting areas, to pavilions equipped with Wi-Fi so you can work on the go, to fire pits and well-lit pathways so you can relax after a long day. 

How much yard do you need?
According to the NHTI survey, homeowners say that while connection to nature is important, size matters less than function. In fact, only 14% said they would trade interior space to get more outdoor space. From container herb gardens to backyard grills, the most desirable setups include outdoor cooking areas and entertainment-centric yards that serve as an extension of the most valued part of the home: the kitchen.

As Reed’s Crossing grows, future parks and shared spaces will include things like community gardens, cooking and eating areas for a farm-to-table experience, a dog park and skill-building area for our furry friends, an amphitheater for community events, and much more. Imagine having acres of green space to enjoy, without having to worry about managing its upkeep. That’s what you’ll find here in South Hillsboro, where your outdoor living area extends far beyond the confines of your own yard. 

How to make the most of your outdoor space
It’s long been known that access to outdoor spaces like parks and trails can help combat social anxiety and loneliness. In the next three years, architects say connection to nature will be the second largest consideration, after cost, when buying a new home. Fortunately, we’re ahead of the curve! From the very start, we’ve worked with real people in the area to get to know their wants and needs.

You told us you want plenty of space to roam, so we’ve got over 30 acres of open space for everyone to enjoy. You told us you want to get to know your neighbors, so we’re designing events and activities that create organic opportunities to meet and connect. You told us you want sustainable homes, so we’re partnering with award-winning builders to deliver eco-conscious, small-footprint homes that maximize space and efficiency. You told us you wanted a grocery store, restaurants, and shops nearby, so we’ve proposed a Town Center that will be less than a mile away from every home in the community. It’s something we like to call Thrivability℠: where the good things in life just keep getting better.

Want to see more of our new home community in South Hillsboro? Take a virtual tour, meet some of our residents, or sneak a peek at what’s happening next.