Being confined to our homes during the pandemic has raised the importance of making our outdoor living space more enjoyable and well-equipped. Whether you’re working with a backyard, porch, or even a balcony, these 7 trends by Better Homes & Gardens will inspire you to elevate the functionality of your outdoor living space and to spend more time in the great outdoors!
With smart technology, multipurpose add-ons, and systems that enable us to stay outside longer and more frequently during the year, this year’s trends point to taking indoor conveniences outdoors.
“Outdoor living in 2021 is synonymous with time spent at home.” – Better Homes & Gardens
With the rising popularity of outdoor cooking, most homeowners are now looking to add outdoor kitchens to their homes. The question is, what type of outdoor kitchen is best suited for your needs? To complement the main interior kitchen, a satellite kitchen offers additional cooking elements such as grills and pizza ovens. Independent kitchens, another alternative, includes a prep room, a sink, storage, and refrigeration, as well as cooking elements, allowing you to meet most, if not all, of your cooking needs outside.
Gardening is another trend that has bloomed during the pandemic. Personally, gardening brings me a sense of peace and I love being able to see my garden grow and flourish throughout the months – not to mention the satisfaction of being able to grow your own vegetables to use in your meals!
As Better Homes & Gardens explains, supplementing pantries with homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs was one of the main causes for the increase in edible gardening. Whether it’s about growing foods that are beneficial to good wellbeing, or fuelled by a growing awareness of climate change and animal welfare, edible gardening is a trend that is expected to stick around.
Outdoor furniture has evolved to suit both daily life and future social events as entertainment became less of a priority in 2020. Sandra Smith-Fitzgerald, senior vice president of merchandising for Frontgate says “we have created pieces designed to perform multiple functions, often with hidden features, and made them versatile enough to use in nearly any space you choose.” Convertible outdoor furniture will be huge this year.
Structures That Provide Privacy
Since most people are anticipating to spend more time outdoors, the need for privacy, shade, and protection from the elements has become increasingly important. As design consultant Jamie Gold explains, “if it has an overhead structure, you can potentially add outdoor drapery panels. If it doesn’t, you can use an outdoor screen. If there’s a border that lends itself to planting, you can create a plant wall. Even an umbrella that tilts can give you some privacy!”
I’ve taken advantage of a large adjustable umbrella on my patio for the past four years, not only does it provide privacy from my surrounding neighbours, it’s also a great way to keep cool while still enjoying the warm weather.
Social Front Yards
“Because of the pandemic and the change in our social lives, there is a desire to feel connected more than ever,” says Blythe Yost, CEO and cofounder of online landscape design company Tilly. That is why more people are recognizing the importance of utilizing their front yards for daily living. A bistro table and chairs, a tree swing, or a cosy bench, according to Yost, “brings life into an environment that was traditionally only seen from afar or walked by.”
Many people are using boosters to amplify Wi-Fi signal outdoors for activities like watching movies and working from home. “The pandemic really has driven great interest into creating outdoor office spaces” says Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes with Belgard. However, outdoor technology isn’t all about work. Music and televisions continue to be common additions to outdoor spaces.
While I haven’t tried setting up a TV outside yet, I have truly enjoyed being able to work on my patio in the warmer months. Especially as we all spend so much time at home, the ability to work outside of your normal home office setting is such a breath of fresh air – literally, and figuratively!
Products That Extend Outdoor Living Season
Furniture, accessories, and add-ons that encourage you to spend more time outdoors are particularly common. “The idea is to extend the days and hours you can enjoy being outside,” says wellness design consultant Jamie Gold. Fire pits, heat lamps, misting devices, and fans are key for extending the outdoor living season. Outdoor rugs, throw blankets, and lighting, on the other hand, may offer additional warmth at night or in colder weather. I plan on purchasing a fire pit in the coming weeks, especially since the weather in Vancouver hasn’t really warmed up as much as we’d like it to over the month of May. This new addition will be great for late night patio sessions!
I hope you enjoy as much time possible outdoors as you can, here’s hoping our weather heats up over the next few weeks.
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