Outdoor Living Trends to Watch for This Summer
This year’s outdoor living trends focus on things that help extend time spent outside — such as incorporating indoor conveniences like smart tech, versatile accessories, and protective structures.
Outdoor Cooking Space
Whether it be a satellite kitchen, which supplements your main indoor kitchen with cooking elements like grills and ovens, or a more complete kitchen setup that includes everything from a food prep area to a sink, storage, refrigeration and cooking elements, outdoor cooking areas continue to grow in popularity this year. Keep in mind that satellite kitchens are often placed near the door leading into an indoor kitchen so the two can easily work in tandem. What type of outdoor kitchen works best in your space will depend on how big of an area you have, what kind of budget you can afford, and climate restrictions. No matter what kitchen type you decide on, extra outdoor seating to accommodate open air meals is always a good idea.
With so many people confined to their homes last year, gardening became a very popular hobby. Not only did it fill time, but it also allowed people to be outside. This year, the home garden trend will continue as people look for ways to supplement their pantries and their meals with fresh fruit, veggies and herbs.
This year’s gardens are taking on a few different forms. The first is an immunity-based garden, which focuses on foods that will help boost health, such as vitamin C-packed tomatoes. The second is a straight-up vegetable garden full of hardy varieties to complement meals. And the last garden type is one that features herbs — often exotic ones — to create global recipes and flavors that help satisfy the travel bug many have but aren’t able to fulfill.
While get-togethers took a back seat in 2020, outdoor furniture adapted to satisfy both everyday living and future entertaining needs. Multifunctional pieces with hidden features are common now — versatile enough to use in just about any space you desire. Expect to see outdoor furniture that can be converted for other purposes, such as tables with hidden beverage niches or modular tables that can be separated to accommodate seating needs.
Structures for Privacy and Protection
The need for privacy and shelter from the elements goes up as outdoor recreation increases. It can be as simple as wanting a distraction-free area to practice yoga or needing a spot to work on your laptop without harsh reflections and sun glare. Luckily, protection can be provided through a combination of landscaping and hardscaping, or even furniture choice. And there are many ways to bring privacy to outdoor areas — screens, plant borders and drapes, to name a few. A tilting umbrella can give a little bit of privacy as well.
Homeowners can also look to interior design for outdoor living space inspiration. An example would be to extend the idea of tiled accent walls outside. Choose tiles with natural qualities, such as stacked stone, concrete, brick or natural wood, and use them to bring a visually interesting backdrop for your space.
Front Yard Fun
While it’s true that front yards used to be mainly thought of as a vehicle for curb appeal, homeowners are now starting to use that space to get more function out of their home. Converting front yard space into an outdoor living area serves two purposes: maximizing available space for daily living, and creating a place that is warm and welcoming to the community. Having spent most of 2020 cooped up at home, people are looking for ways to connect. The simplicity and casual atmosphere of a social front yard is part of its appeal. By adding a bench, swing or a bistro table and chairs, you invite activity and life into an area that was previously just glanced at from a distance or passed through.
Bring Interior Technology Outside
As the line between indoor and outdoor living blurs, people are looking to extend their use of interior technologies to the exterior. Popular additions include boosters to increase Wi-Fi signals outdoors so that work and streaming movies can be done outside. Luckily, integrating most tech into outdoor living areas can be done seamlessly, without having to impose big changes to the layout or look of the space. One exception, however, is if you’re looking to create a new, separate space devoted to a particular activity, such as an outdoor theater or home office. Outdoor home offices are becoming very popular.
That being said, technology doesn’t always have to be about work — integrating music and television are still among the top tech choices. Plus, there are tech updates to enhance aesthetics as well, such as LED color-changing lights.
Products to Extend Outside Time
In addition to outdoor lighting, throw blankets and exterior rugs, which help extend outdoor time past sundown, people are looking to things like heat lamps and fire pits to prolong their outdoor time into the cooler months. Although not new, these products are extremely popular this year for their usefulness in helping convert sometimes-used outdoor areas into everyday living spaces.
As mentioned before, stay on the lookout for versatile furniture that can serve multiple functions — especially for smaller spaces. One particularly helpful addition are side tables that can be used as extra seating when needed. Ceramic garden stools are a popular choice, as are concrete and metal stools. All are available in a wide variety of styles, shapes, colors and textures.