Outdoor living spaces were trending even before the pandemic. Now they've become essential.

They're also migrating from the back of homes to the front, to foster neighborliness and connection in a disconnected time.

"We are all starved for interaction," said Karen Bachman Thull, director of marketing for Bachman's. People are adding "chat seating" for small groups and front-yard firepits so that they can see and greet their neighbors and visit informally. "Even a wave, an acknowledgment, can help us all connect," she said.

This year, Bachman's annual Spring Ideas House is focused on "all the beautiful ways you can take time to enjoy being outdoors," said Bachman Thull.

Because of the pandemic, the event has been moved from the historic Bachman family home to inside the Lyndale Avenue store to better allow for social distancing.

Visitors will see six front porches demonstrating different ways to decorate the front door and use seating and container gardens to create a welcoming space.

"We've built this little neighborhood — it's Disney-esque," said Bachman Thull.

The Spring Ideas House also features other outdoor room vignettes and a few indoor rooms, as well, demonstrating fresh looks in seasonal home decor.

Neutral colors remain on trend, according to Bachman Thull, with beige or gray as a base, then layering on textures via distressed woods, wicker and rattan and chunky knits. "It creates that cozy feeling everyone is looking for, in a modern way," she said.

Houseplants and ways to display them also will be a focus, given their renewed popularity during the pandemic. "Plants add something to the four walls where we're all living and working," she said. Hanging plants, plants on pedestals and footed planters will showcase various ways to incorporate greenery into your home.

The event also will include resources for those seeking garden know-how, such as guidance on when and how to start seeds. "Our conservatory is paying homage to digging in," said Bachman Thull.

COVID safety guidelines include a one-way walking path through the vignettes, socially distant spacing and limiting the number of people at any one time. Guests are invited to preregister for a time slot at bachmans.com.

Bachman's anticipates a lot of pent-up interest in getting outside and puttering in the garden after the pandemic winter, said Bachman Thull.

"It's the celebration of a new season, and everyone is so excited to renew that connection with nature and the outdoors," she said.

Celebrate Spring:  Ideas and Inspiration

What: Self-guided tour of home decor trends, outdoor rooms and plants.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, through April 11. (Closed April 4 for Easter Sunday.)
Where: Bachman's on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.
Cost: $5, which includes a coupon for $5 off $25 or more item at Bachman's; 20% of proceeds will benefit Tree Trust, a Minneapolis organization that educates people about careers in agriculture and horticulture, and beautifies the city by planting trees. Preregister for a time slot at bachmans.com.