After spending a record amount of time in their homes in 2020, homeowners around the country were inspired to reimagine their living spaces. Home offices and kitchens saw major makeovers, but it was backyards that stole the show. While 2021 has re-introduced gatherings with friends and family for many, backyard design trends are focused on blending everyday function with easy entertaining, maximizing the space you have to make sure that you can spend as much time as possible relaxing in your own private oasis.
Front Yards Re-Imagined
2020 saw the emergence of drive-by parties and brief encounters with neighbors in the front yard, leading homeowners to re-think how they’ve been using a space that had been relegated to purely ornamental. Aside from the ability to maximize your outdoor space, spending time in the front yard provides a way to connect with your community, whether you’re waving to neighbors as you enjoy your morning coffee from a quaint bistro table or enjoying a book on a bed swing in the shade of your front porch.
Working from home has become far more commonplace, and homeowners quickly found that their home offices didn’t function well as full-time workspaces, and outdoor office spaces are stepping up to provide a fresh outlook and the ability to break up the day between multiple functional spaces. This trend reaches much farther than expanding your wifi connection, though. Bringing music and televisions into your outdoor space gives you the ability to maximize the time that you’re able to spend outside, even if you’re on a Netflix binge. And smartphone controlled outdoor lighting allows you to use your backyard longer, and, it evokes excitement, drama, romance or any number of moods
Soothing Water Features
The sound of a trickling fountain or peaceful calm of a koi pond can quickly turn any backyard into a tranquil oasis. According to marine biologist and former senior scientists at the non-profit Ocean Conservancy Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, “Water is also a source of creativity and inspiration,” which means that whether your backyard oasis is doubling as a workspace or you’re purely hoping to spark some insightful conversations at the outdoor dinner table, adding some blue to your green space is a smart choice.
The ambiance of the outdoors makes it a natural place to sit and enjoy a meal together, and many families are heading outside to take advantage of the relaxing atmosphere while cooking their meals, too. The beauty of an outdoor cooking space is that there are endless possibilities that cooks may not be able to enjoy in their main kitchens, like grills, smokers and pizza ovens. You may opt for a satellite kitchen, which is often located near the main kitchen and supplements your existing setup, or you might find that an independent kitchen – complete with prep space, food storage, cooking and cleaning units – is the best fit for your space.
Although many are excited to entertain friends and family again, finding pieces that can function well for hosting gatherings and as everyday living staples is key. Modular sofas can be pulled apart to allow for conversation or pushed together to create a lounge-worthy sectional, while tables with hidden beverage compartments can easily transition from family meal to stylish, functional cooler.
Privacy and Protection
Whether you’re seeking shelter from the elements or your neighbors, hardscaping, landscaping and furniture can all be utilized to create a private atmosphere without sacrificing beauty. For spaces with an overhead structure, drapery panels can create a space of solitude by blocking light or sectioning off a space, while lending a breezy, relaxed feel. Landscaping can act as a barrier while adding visual interest through color and texture and enhancing the presence of nature in your yard. Even interior design principles are making their way outdoors with the rising popularity of tiled accent walls. Whether you choose a natural stone or wood, concrete, brick or a bold encaustic tile, adding a feature wall can help to define spaces in a large yard while also becoming a focal point.
Extending the Outdoor Living Season
If spending the absolute maximum amount of time outdoors is your goal, keeping the heat of summer and chill of autumn at bay should be at the top of your list. Misting systems, fans, heat lamps and fire pits can all keep you cozy when the weather isn’t ideal. And Outdoor Lighting, keeps your outdoor living space lit so you can enjoy it for a few more hours. Outdoor rugs help protect your feet from hard surfaces that can become overly hot or cool, while proper lighting can create not only ambiance but extend the daylight hours so that you can enjoy your space well into the evening.