Even with winter lingering on and on this year, wistful gardeners and professional landscapers are busy planning their upcoming projects for the season.

The pleasure you can get from spending your leisure time outdoors in a well-landscaped yard with a beautiful, lush lawn comes with many added bonuses, including increased home values, and enhanced curb appeal that may help attract buyers if you are planning on entering the housing market.

Before you begin any outdoor projects, homeowners should spend some time getting to know their property’s topography, orientation, climate, and economy, and take into consideration their budget. Here are popular trends and tips reported from around the country:

Easy to Maintain Landscapes and Yards

Busy home owners want to enjoy yards that don’t require a lot of time and effort to maintain. This trend is translating into more low-maintenance, easy to care for choices for outdoor spaces, including materials for decks, patios, and columns that don’t require repainting or replacing, furniture that can be left outdoors year round, and plants, flowers, shrubs and bushes that don’t have to be constantly watered, fertilized, or pruned.

Perennials Over Annuals

Because of these trends, perennials are popping up more and more in gardens and landscapes. This, in turn, is leading to greater use of perennials instead of annuals in gardens, because they don’t need to be replaced the following year.

Wildflower Patches Replacing Cutting Gardens

Wildflowers, too, are less demanding and less expensive than cottage and cutting garden plants.

Fewer Varieties of Flowers

Gardens that incorporate five to seven varieties of flowers rather than dozens are easier to manage and care for, not to mention less costly overall. Opt for one big bank of roses in single color rather than 10 different kinds in multiple colors.

Container gardens are also a great choice when it comes down to reducing the amount of time you spend maintaining your garden. However, while more convenient, container gardens need to be watered more frequently since water will evaporate faster in smaller containers than it will in the ground.