The ultimate in-and-out list for your backyard this spring

(BPT) - As the weather begins to warm up, it's time to breathe life into your backyard sanctuary and embrace the vibrant spirit of spring. Professional landscaper, author, and TV host of "I Hate My Yard" Sara Bendrick shares her In/Out list for spring, taking a look at today's gardening trends, as well as her best tips for revitalizing your outdoor space this year.

What's out?

You can say goodbye to these common substances and practices that aren't great for your yard, your family, or the environment.

Harmful chemicals

People are more aware than ever of how harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides negatively impact the soil, your food, and your health. Reduce or exclude these toxic chemicals from your garden experience by planting insect-deterring herbs or by incorporating organic compost and mulch to add essential nutrients to your soil.

"If you're starting a new garden and want to till in organic matter, the STIHL KombiSystem with the mini-cultivator attachment is a great multi-task tool," said Bendrick.

Colored or rubber mulch

Because it's sold everywhere and is often on sale, most people use bagged, dyed mulch to freshen up their flower beds. But the truth is, these dyed wood chips contain chemicals that can leach into your soil.

You may also fall for the convenience of rubber mulch, but that's made of recycled car tires, which are toxic and can transfer chemicals by touch and into the soil as they wear down.

"Instead of colored or rubber mulch, opt for natural wood chips," recommended Bendrick. "You can use wood bark, pine needles, or other natural materials that break down and add organic material back into the soil."

Artificial turf

As water restrictions have become increasingly widespread, so has artificial turf, but that kind of turf can't be recycled when it's old. Eventually, you will see weeds popping up again if your artificial turf is not maintained.

"Most importantly, it's hot and inorganic, increasing the 'heat island effect' that warms up the surrounding environment," said Bendrick. "Homeowners should consider other lawn alternatives like tall native grasses or drought-tolerant ground covers." Using local, native, and climate-appropriate plant selections can transform a high-maintenance yard into a beautiful oasis - while saving on water and scaling maintenance to quarterly rather than weekly or monthly.

What's in?

Ready to hear about practical, easy-to-follow tips that can improve the look as well as the health of your yard? Bendrick recommends embracing the following trends.


Insects are essential for pollinating food sources, and they are also great at cleaning up undesirables in your garden, like feces, dead animals and plants, recycling their nutrients back into the soil.

"Our relationship with creepy crawlies has not always been friendly," noted Bendrick. "However, there is a resurgence of respect for the insect world and their integral work in balancing the ecosystem in our gardens."

Collecting or harvesting rainwater

Rain barrels are great, but they're limited by their smaller size, leaving lots of water uncollected for use. Passive infiltration and collection pits are great additional catchment methods or alternatives to rain barrels.

"These systems are becoming increasingly popular as they can help recharge groundwater and hold moisture onsite longer, benefiting your lawn and garden in many ways!" Bendrick added.

Battery-powered outdoor power equipment

When it comes to maintaining your yard, there are many options to choose from, but battery-powered tools are in high demand because they provide a low-noise, zero-exhaust emissions, lightweight option that offers power and performance comparable to gas.

For example, Bendrick recommends the STIHL lineup of battery-powered homeowner tools that offer an interchangeable battery compatible with 15 different tools to tackle all your lawn care jobs.

Color is back!

Technically, color never went away, but grey tones have, until recently, dominated rooms and spaces indoors and out.

"Now we're seeing a warming trend moving in, with a focus on earth tones like soft tans and natural greens, with pops of accent colors, like Peach Fuzz, Pantone's color of the year, to create a warm yet vibrant and personalized space," said Bendrick.

Smart landscapes

Tech has moved to the garden! Thanks to the latest technology, you can even go beyond irrigation systems that turn off when it's raining or lighting apps that allow you to customize your backyard mood from your phone.

"Today, you can even use autonomous lawnmowers like the STIHL iMOW® for smart landscapes that reduce your maintenance tasks," said Bendrick, "and offer quite the conversation piece as well."

Knowing the latest trends in yard and garden design, care and maintenance can help you create a more eco-friendly, livable outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy.

Visit for more tips from Sara to help your lawn and garden thrive.

March 19, 2024