8 Backyard Trends That Will Make You Want to Spend Every Day Outdoors

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In the olden days (as in, less than a year ago, which is nearly eternity by TikTok trend standards), you’d highlight your open kitchen and spa-like bathrooms—and, if you were so lucky—incredible views to sell a house. In 2023, you call out your backyard. Zillow has deemed them the “new luxury for homebuyers,” noting that they’re highlighted in one out of every five listings these days.

“When the pandemic forced all entertaining outdoors, homeowners reclaimed their backyards from the kids or the dogs. Now they’re rethinking how that space could serve as an extension of their home in new, creative ways,” explains Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert, adding that the space is primed for a “2023 evolution.”

So, what does that look like? Here are the top emerging backyard trends, so you can outfit your great outdoors to be, well, even greater.

25 Chic Backyard Ideas to Prep Your Space for Summer

backyard trends: maximalist gardens with lush greenery

1. Maximalist Gardens

Neatly manicured lawns are nice and all—but they can be a little boring. Increasingly, the pros at custom landscape company Yardzen are seeing people lean toward the opposite end of the spectrum, opting for maximalist gardens full of flowers. “This style is all about volume, texture and a playful hand at planting,” explains CEO and cofounder Allison Messner. “It’s all about layering flowers and plants at different heights and with different textures…The maximalist garden has lots to feast your eyes on and little to fuss with.”

Not sure where to start? Messner recommends using the National Wildlife Federation’s native plants guide to uncover what will grow best in your area.

backyard trends: string lights
Goir/Getty Images

2. Discreet Ways to Keep Mosquitos at Bay

So, it turns out those citronella candles you’ve been using aren’t really keeping mosquitos away. Fear not: Many brands are introducing creative new solutions, be they gadgets you pop into the edge of your yard to create a perimeter shield or handheld lanterns that do double-duty keeping bugs at bay. But we’re most excited about Tiki’s BiteFighter LED string lights. The subtle string lights provide a 350-foot zone of protection for up to 200 hours, so you can enjoy dinners alfresco all summer long.

backyard trends: clover lawns with a cat sitting in them
Elena Pejchinova/Getty Images

3. Clover Lawns

Keeping your grass greener than what’s on the other side of the fence (not that it’s a competition) is…challenging, to say the least. Groundcovers have been a popular alternative for a while now, but over the past year, Cinch Home Services has seen a 1,017 percent rise in searches for clover lawns, specifically. Why? Well, they handle heat and drought better than grass—and require less watering—and they attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to your yard.

backyard trends: saunas outside
Laurie Grossman/Yardzen

4. Saunas & Cold-Plunge Tubs

Simply put, “homeowners are bringing the spa to their backyard,” Messner says, adding that Yardzen has seen more and more people request upgrades like saunas, day beds and yoga platforms. Cold-plunge tubs, in particular, have been popular.

“We’ve seen a renewed interest in the Scandinavian-influenced practice of hot and cold therapy,” Messner explains. “It’s not just makeshift stock tank ice baths now, there are more and more companies building dedicated plunge tubs—either used on their own or paired with a heat source like an infrared sauna or dry heat barrel sauna.”

backyard trends: petscaping and luxury dog houses, like this wooden one
Catherine Ledner/Getty Images

5. Petscaping 2.0

Given the rise of “barkitecture” over the past year, it’s only fitting that an interest in creating pet-friendly spaces would extend to the great outdoors as well. The whole concept of “petscaping” is creating a garden free of pesticides, mulch and thorny/toxic plants, and creating zones for your pets to use the bathroom (rather than hiking on your dahlias), as well as dig pits for playing and pathways for exploring. Some people are taking this to the next level, with Pinterest reporting an 85 percent increase in searches for creating a “DIY dog pool.”

backyard trends: outdoor home gym
Backyard Pod

6. Outdoor Home Gyms

Instead of converting the garage or basement into a gym, people are moving their workout spaces outdoors. It’s a trend Zillow noticed, and nobody’s more aware of it than the folks at Backyard Pod, which specializes in tiny houses—or pods—many of which are being turned into gyms with their own heating and cooling systems, luxury vinyl flooring and a private bathroom.

While adding a pod can boost your home’s resale value, it’s also quite an investment, with turn-key pods starting at $35,990. And, before you buy one, you’ll have to look at your home’s survey, noting any setbacks and easements—as well as your city’s permit and building requirements—to determine whether you can make this addition to your yard.

backyard trends: hammocks in side yards
Maskot/Getty Images

7. Hammock Nooks

People are finally starting to take advantage of their side yards, aka those narrow walkways and areas that all too often just collect weeds (or stow garbage bins). That small space is often ideal to create a hammock nook or lounge area, ideal for kicking back—and enjoying a little privacy—after a long day.

8. Multi-Purpose Sport Courts

If you have the space—and the budget—you may want to skip a pool or elaborate garden in favor of a space to get active. “Maybe blame the pickleball craze, but there’s a renewed interest in incorporating dedicated activity zones into the yard and doing it in a way that it feels integrated and cohesive with the overall design,” Messner says. Installing a court that complements the existing color palette of the yard can help you achieve just that.

candace davison bio
Candace Davison

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...
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