If pandemic living has taught us anything about the ideal home environment, it’s that outdoor living spaces are as essential as interior ones. But having a backyard oasis doesn’t just make it easier to host safe outdoor gatherings; it also makes everyday life more enjoyable.
Spring is a great time to think about how your outdoor living space measures up, and where it falls short. It’s also the best time to tackle the projects that will bring it closer to perfection this summer — so you can enjoy it for many more summers to come.
Not sure where to start? Let’s explore the top trends in outdoor living for 2021:
1. Satellite Kitchens
If you’re looking to up your outdoor entertainment game, you’re not alone — a 2021 design trends report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) found that about three in five homeowners would like to add an outdoor kitchen.
Most people opt to add a small satellite kitchen that features an outdoor cooking element like a built-in grill or a pizza oven along with convenient food prep areas. Located just outside the house, this practical amenity is designed to supplement the main kitchen.
2. Shade Structures
This summer, you may start to notice more pergolas popping up in backyards near you. That’s because custom-built structures that provide the perfect blend of shade and shelter are key to getting the most out of any outdoor living space.
From pergolas and patio covers to pavilions and gazebos, covered structures come in a wide range of styles and sizes to suit any outdoor space. The right covered structure can give you a comfortable place to work, exercise, eat, and relax outdoors — no matter what the weather.
3. Upgraded Seating
Comfortable, versatile seating has always been a defining element of outdoor living. It’s an element that’s even more important with today’s collective interest in outdoor get-togethers.
Updated seating may mean replacing old, worn outdoor furniture as needed, or it may mean creating additional seating areas to better accommodate social distancing. When searching for new outdoor furniture, look for modular models that are easy to reconfigure, or convertible pieces that serve multiple purposes.
4. Increased Privacy
The pandemic prompted people to enjoy their outdoor living spaces more often and in new ways. But even as people continue to appreciate their patios, yards, and gardens, many have also come to recognize the need for greater privacy.
Whether you live on a busy street or in close proximity to your neighbors, there’s a lot you can do to get more privacy and beautify your space along the way. From privacy fencing and lush border landscaping to moveable screens and curtains for your pergola, a mix of elements can help you achieve amazing results.
5. Edible Gardens
Thanks to endless days at home last spring, a lot of people took up the same outdoor hobby: edible gardening. A year later, herb and produce gardens are more popular than ever before — and they’re taking center stage in today’s outdoor living spaces.
If you like the idea of supplementing your groceries with home-grown produce but you don’t know where to start, just think about how you cook: a global herb garden can help you make your favorite regional or international dishes; hearty vegetables can help you eat less meat, and vitamin-rich fruits can boost your immune system.
6. Cold-Weather Features
A year of pandemic living — and year-round outdoor gathering — has inspired many people to continue enjoying their outdoor living spaces through the fall and winter. Luckily, with the right warming features, outdoor living spaces can be just as comfortable in cold weather.
A large patio may be well-suited to a permanent warming feature like an outdoor fireplace or a stone fire pit; a portable fire pit is ideal if you’d like to be able to store it during the summer. To heat a deck or a covered structure like a pergola, outdoor heating lamps are a good solution.
7. Front Yard Living
Before the pandemic, your front yard was all about curb appeal. Now, it’s another potential gathering space, especially if you live in a tight-knit, walkable neighborhood where people are often out and about.
Front yard outdoor living is simpler and more casual than backyard outdoor living, in that it’s all about community and connection. It doesn’t take much to create a more welcoming front yard: a well-placed bench, a small bistro set, or a comfortable pair of outdoor chairs is all it takes to set the stage for more spontaneous social interactions.