5 Outdoor Features Homeowners Want This Spring

From backyard pickleball courts to wildscaping, find out how homeowners are sprucing up their yard.

As spring approaches, more homeowners are sizing up their outdoor space and making plans to ensure every square inch counts. They’re ditching expansive, lush lawns and carving out more areas for entertaining, relaxing and pursuing hobbies. The Plan Collection, a home design site, shares spring outdoor design trends that are gaining popularity this year.

1. Outdoor Kitchens 

Outdoor kitchen with brick
Photo credit: The Plan Collection

Outdoor kitchens are getting upgraded with cabinets, islands, outdoor electric ovens and granite or highly polished concrete countertops. Online search terms, compared to last year, reveal the following upticks related to consumers’ interest in outdoor kitchen design:

  • Outdoor counters: +86%
  • Outdoor oven: +83%
  • Outdoor sink: +50%
  • Outdoor electric grill: +50%

A growing preference for electric outdoor appliances—in lieu of traditional gas grills—is due to gas’ perceived environmental impact, The Plan Collection notes.

2. Weather-Resistant Landscaping

Weather-resistant lawn
Photo credit: The Plan Collection

Weather extremes, like droughts and extreme heat, are challenging the practicality of large, green lawns. Homeowners are now turning to alternative landscaping approaches, including:

  • Native landscaping: The use of native plants to preserve the local, natural ecosystem. These require less maintenance, less water and little or no fertilizers.
  • Wildscaping: This includes native landscaping and creates a habitat for local bees, birds and small animals.
  • Xeriscaping: Landscaping designed to reduce or eliminate the need for water, such as using rocks. In the West, droughts and government-mandated water limitations are rising and prompting more homeowners to explore xeriscaping.
  • Solar: In harnessing the sun, solar lighting and bird baths are a rising trend. Bird baths are being outfitted with a solar panel to provide energy to run a fountain pump and circulate water.

3. Backyard Pickleball Courts

While the emergence of pickleball has infused life in vacant commercial properties, homeowners are beginning to install their own courts, too. Backyard pickleball courts are still considered a luxury; for those on a budget, the driveway has become the optimal location for playing pickleball at home.

Pickleball court
Photo credit: Ucpage / Getty Images

4. New Levels of Outdoor Spaces

Raised pergola
Photo credit: The Plan Collection

Rather than building out, homeowners are building up to maximize square footage, especially for homes with small lots. Raised outdoor spaces can offer a view and increase a home’s entertainment space.

Outdoor space
Photo credit: The Plan Collection
Outdoor space
Photo credit: The Plan Collection
Outdoor space
Photo credit: The Plan Collection

5. Adaptable, Flexible Yards

Rear porch with outdoor kitchen
Photo credit: The Plan Collection

Over the past year, The Plan Collection says, floor plans for new homes have been showcasing more spaces that can be adapted for multiple functions, including:

  • Outdoor kitchens that can double as an entertaining space.
  • Lightweight sectional furniture that can be moved to accommodate a cocktail party or a child’s birthday party.
  • Just enough lawn—or turf—for visual appeal but also for enjoying outdoor games.
  • Screened-in porches or pergolas that provide shade, protection from insects and an extended outdoor living season.

“Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission”

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