The Top 5 Outdoor Living Trends for 2023 Are All About Relaxation

Unplug and unwind with this year's most popular outdoor living ideas.

A desire to stay home, disconnect, and improve our existing spaces are all motivations behind this year's top outdoor living trends. And while they might feel reminiscent of mid-pandemic sentiments, health and wellness and the effects of an economic downturn are the driving forces today.

backyard patio with modern farmhouse outdoor furniture


“There is so much awareness around taking care of yourself and making time for yourself, which is a hard thing to do with today’s busy and overbooked lifestyle norm,” says Blythe Yost, co-founder and chief landscape architect of Tilly. “Investing in ways to do this at home makes it more attainable and feasible to make time for.”

This year, homeowners are creating spaces to unplug, unwind, and relax. Here are the most popular outdoor living trends in 2023.

David Patterson

1. Sensory Pathways

This outdoor trend is all about making space to recharge and activating the senses. Although it doesn’t require a lot of square footage, it does pack a big impact with thoughtfully chosen design elements. “We like to incorporate beautiful sounds like bamboo wind chimes or a water feature,” says Yost.

Texture also plays a role; sensory pathways often include materials like wood and stone. “We love to combine different textures throughout the path,” says Yost. Variations in plant life, including colors and shapes, types of flora, and heights and depths, are an opportunity to indulge the eyes.

Of course, like many gardens, aroma plays a role, too. “It’s nice to feature items that have a great smell, like lavender,” says Yost. If space allows, grow something you can eat to round out the fifth sense. Not only will you get to taste the results, you'll also experience the benefits of gardening.

backyard patio dining space and fire pit

Courtesy of Yardzen / Photo by Ebbe Yovino-Smith

2. Organic Style

Organic modern is a popular interior decorating style, and its design influences are hitting the home’s exterior, too. “This style favors organic shapes, curves, and softer hardscapes as well—a crunch of gravel underfoot on pathways, naturalistic stone pavers defining an outdoor patio, and a heritage vine overhead on a pergola or trellis,” says Kendra Poppy, trends expert and head of brand at Yardzen.

To achieve organic modern style in your outdoor space, incorporate color and texture through natural elements like wildflowers, ornamental grasses, and olive trees. For contrast, Poppy recommends antique-inspired furniture and decor. “Choose materials that have a lived-in look, such as patinaed metal chairs or a salvaged wood garden bench, natural finishes like rattan and jute, and timeless vintage clay pots.”

patio with porch swing and yoga area

Marion Brenner

3. Outdoor Fitness Areas

A designated outdoor fitness area is a hot request for Tilly’s designers, who say it’s not just about having the space but making it work for home workouts. “From a design perspective, we’ll want to make sure this area has shade, whether it’s under a pergola, a shade sail or perhaps a great existing tree,” says Yost. “The ground needs to be somewhat level—maybe it’s on grass or a new bluestone patio or wood deck.”

Wi-Fi access for streaming workouts or simply listening to motivating music is also a helpful feature. The right space for floor exercises or a stationary bike is one thing, but Yost says some are thinking even bigger, like bocce, putting greens, or even basketball courts. It’s about utilizing your outdoor space to best serve your interests. 

front mid century home exterior with dogs on porch
Brie Williams

4. Focus on the Front Yard

Maximizing the front of your home is more popular than ever this year. “People want welcoming exteriors to match their individualistic interiors,” according to Pinterest Predicts. The company's annual trend report noted increased searches for both front door transformations and front door portico ideas. And it’s not just traditional home fronts: they’re seeing increased interest in porches for campers, too.  

“This trend is less about increasing the size of your front porch and instead designing it as the visual showpiece of your front exterior and making it comfortable enough that you’ll stay awhile,” says Poppy. “You don’t have to go big to make a statement either!”

Updating house numbers and door hardware, and adding container plants and stylish doormats are examples of small elements that make a big design impact. If space and budget allow, look for ways to increase comfort in your front yard, too. “Extend the functional square footage of your home by creating an outdoor living room out front, replete with an inviting outdoor couch, a porch swing or hanging chairs, and mood-setting lighting,” says Poppy. 

plunge pool with cement pool deck and patio furniture

Courtesy of Yardzen / Photo by Ebbe Yovino-Smith

5. Relaxing Water Features

From bubbling fountains to cool plunge pools, water features of all types are upping the relaxation factor in backyards. While water has a role in the sensory pathways trend, too, here we’re seeing opportunities for personal rejuvenation. Specifically, Yardzen is seeing an increased interest in adding saunas, hot tubs, and outdoor showers to create spa-like environments to unwind without leaving the comfort of home. It’s an outdoor extension of the bathroom design trends we’re seeing in 2023, too. 

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