6 Things You’re Going to Want in Your Yard This Spring, According to Real Estate Pros

published Apr 9, 2023
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If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for sunnier skies so you can start freshening up your outdoor space. My backyard becomes a second living room during spring and summer, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to make it more comfortable and inviting. 

Maximizing your outdoor areas improves functionality and expands your home’s living space. Major exterior improvement projects are pricey, but fortunately there are things you can do to liven up your yard that don’t require a lot of money. Here are a few trending outdoor features that real experts recommend for spring and summer — whether you’re selling your home or not. 

Native Plants

While a pristine green lawn gives great curb appeal, it requires a lot of water to maintain. So, as a part of widespread conservation efforts, lawns are getting smaller. What to do with that extra yard space? “The 2023 trend in gardening is to embrace the beauty of native plants while reducing lawn size and increasing planting bed size,” says David Angelov, founder of and master gardener at PlantParenthood.

Native plants, trees, and shrubs require less water and fertilizer to establish and grow. And because they’ve evolved to thrive in your particular region, they’re hardy and easier to maintain. 

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Cottagecore Gardens

People are moving away from the minimalism-inspired backyard trend and toward a more untamed and whimsical theme. Cottagecore is making its way into outdoor spaces as people embrace color and a cozier, lived-in feel. 

It’s a design approach that’s less about restraint and more about letting the yard’s landscaping be more wild and free. Think of the controlled chaos of an English garden. “To get the look, play with textural grasses, abundant wildflower blooms, arches and trellises, and humble hardscaping like gravel or herringbone brick paths,” says Kendra Poppy, trends expert at Yardzen

A Hammock

Outdoor living means creating places to lounge, and nothing says spring and summer like an afternoon lazing in a backyard hammock. “There are so many options available now that they don’t have to be something you can only enjoy on vacation,” says real estate agent and home functionality coach Kristina Browning. 

Finding a hammock that’s easy to get into and doesn’t flip is key. Browning recommends Yellow Leaf Hammocks for their durability and positive social impact. 

Easy, DIY Lawn Care

If you do have a large lawn, ongoing maintenance can be a challenge. It takes time and some know-how to keep it healthy each season. Now, there’s an online service that takes the guesswork out of lawn care. Share your address, answer a few questions, then send a soil sample, and a company called Sunday will put together a DIY lawn care fertilizer based on your climate and landscaping. “It’s safe for animals, people, and wildlife without the harmful chemicals,” says Browning. 

And as a bonus, replacing a lawn with native plants reduces or eliminates the need for gas-powered mowers that emit pollutants. 

Smart Bird Feeders

If you developed a love of birding during the pandemic, you weren’t alone. Bird-watching increased by 50 percent in the summer of 2020 as people looked for safer recreational activities outdoors. This AI-powered bird feeder by Bird Buddy gives you the benefits of birding in your own backyard. It sends you alerts when birds are in your yard, snaps photos, and sends them to an app for organizing and sharing on social media. 

The feeder also sends your photos to the scientific community, a feature Browning appreciates. “Scientists and ecologists around the world can better identify species that are particularly at risk from local and globalized effects of a changing climate,” she says.

An Outdoor Bar

Entertaining at home naturally moves to the outdoors in warmer months. Keep the fun outside with an outdoor bar where you and your guests can mix your favorite drinks. “For those with room for an outdoor living area, a bar adjacent to the lounging zone is a popular [client] request,” Poppy says.

Grab an outdoor bar cart — or if you already have one in your living room, wheel it outside (and be sure to bring it back inside when the party’s over). If you’re feeling adventurous, a DIY outdoor bar project will have you entertaining in style. 

I can taste the mojitos already.