Bobby Berk's eco-friendly backyard upgrade we're copying for summer

This is the most sustainable backyard trend of 2022, according to designer Bobby Berk and it's super easy to install too

An outdoor area with palm trees and outdoor lights
(Image credit: Sara Tramp)

When it comes to finding the latest outdoor living and backyard trends, Bobby Berk is one to watch for sure. We all take upgrading our backyards for summer that little bit more seriously nowadays and it's no secret that living more sustainably is also at the forefront of our minds. So Bobby couldn't have revealed his favorite eco-friendly backyard upgrade at a better time.  

The interior designer and star of Netflix’s Queer Eye who recently partnered with Yelp says 'Nothing excites me more than the promise of warmer weather and spending more time outdoors, so I’m thrilled to partner with Yelp to share up-and-coming trends for the backyard and beyond.' 

The legacy of the pandemic is that our outdoor spaces are so much more than just something pretty to look at from inside the home. But while the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 provided backyard owners with the time for large-scale upgrades that included hot tubs, outdoor kitchen areas, and brand-new patios, this year it’s all about more low-key investments that can still make a big impact on the styling of your outdoor space – without increasing your carbon footprint.

Bobby Berk’s best backyard upgrade for 2022

'When it comes to design inspiration and summer décor updates, 2022 will continue to spotlight a return to aesthetics inside and out, whether that’s installing a skylight to bring more natural light in, or adding solar lights to easily elevate a backyard’s ambiance.' 

And, if you decide to just add one new backyard idea this summer, Bobby says it should be solar-powered outdoor lighting.

‘I’ve been using solar lights for years now, and not only are they an easy installation, but they don’t require any power, which means that you can add them virtually anywhere.’ 

What we love about this backyard upgrade is that it is so simple and still leaves plenty of room for your own individual preferences, giving you considerable freedom in terms of exploring different outdoor lighting ideas. ‘Whether you want to hang overhead cafe lights for ambiance, or uplights to create an evening glow, it’s an investment you will not regret.’ Adds Berk. 

The best solar-powered lights come in a huge variety of shapes, from glowing globes you can simply stick into the ground to solar-powered fairy lights for the classic romantic evening look. You can also get solar-powered lanterns with candles that look just like real ones. 

An outdoor area with steps and string lights

(Image credit: Sara TrampA)

Bobby believes that not decorating your yard with outdoor lighting is a ‘missed opportunity’ since ‘adding outdoor lighting to your yard allows you to use it even after the sun goes down.’

The biggest backyard trend is also eco-friendly

Needless to say, solar-powered outdoor lighting is also the most sustainable outdoor lighting option there is – you’ll never need to replace batteries or use your main electric supply. Which makes it doubly trendy. As Bobby explains, ‘we are becoming more and more aware of the impact our daily choices make on the environment.’ Switching to solar-powered decorative lighting is part of the bigger trend to making our homes and yards more sustainable.

Boby Berk in a bedroom

(Image credit: Sara Tramp)

The contemporary home that’s right on-trend will probably also have an electric vehicle charging station (Bobby has recently had one added to his home after buying an electric car), a water-butt for water conservation on the side of the property, and LED lights and smart bulbs inside the home. It’s all about using a mixture of the latest technology and sustainable home improvements like solar lighting, water butts, and permeable paving – all have been done for generations. 

In 2022, don’t be afraid to combine old and new to make your home and yard more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. 

Bobby’s tips have been developed in collaboration with Yelp (opens in new tab).

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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