We have done a number of projects the last three or four years that in their essence reclaim the backyard for houses. Many backyards, like the one at my house, 5 years ago were just abandoned spaces where weed trees had grown in and shaded everything out, or just neglected as a space because a house was a rental, or just flat out vacant. A common sight (site) in former rental properties is where the entire backyard had been turned into a parking lot so multiple tenants could have off street parking.
But in a number of quickly growing neighborhoods there is a trend to once again make backyards. We've been removing concrete, adding soil, and making new lawns. Rarely is there a demand for anything fancy, just to simply have a lawn for the kids to play on. It isn't even people looking to have that idea of "a nice lawn," its aim is generally to be clean and safe. And, always we are using sod and not seed; this is cost feasible in the small backyards of the city that may only be one or two thousand square feet. Sod gives and instant cover that the kids can play on almost immediately.
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture