Over the past decade, outdoor living spaces have evolved exponentially. What once would have been a simple seating arrangement accompanying a grill or fire pit might today be a fully featured outdoor kitchen that even a professional chef would enjoy. These outdoor living areas have become more popular, along with more elaborately decorated and furnished areas that offer all the luxuries of an indoor living room. The days of plastic lawn furniture are waning, with high style solutions being a sought after replacement. Comfort, convenience, and lots of fun in the sun are all reasons why many homeowners are upgrading their backyards and turning them into the ultimate weekend destination! With summer just around the corner, these trends continue to grow. While these modern outdoor spaces were once reserved for luxury homes with spacious lots, designers are now offering even the smallest yard options to allow more outdoor living.

Top 5 Backyard Trends this Summer

  1. Multi-tasking – A small yard may seem like the biggest obstacle in having a fully featured back yard oasis, but the reality is that you just have to think outside the box a little. Any permanent installation in a small backyard should serve multiple purposes. A retaining wall might be constructed with built-in bench seating or water feature. A vertical garden could double as a privacy fence or a way to create outdoor “rooms” for different uses. An expanded porch or deck could include storage, to help alleviate the need for a dedicated shed elsewhere in the yard.
  2. Pergolas – Modern pergolas help make the outdoors feel a lot like indoors. These updated structures often include roll-up blinds and built-in lighting, meaning that they’re a great space to spend your time, day or night. Aside from adding shelter and shade, many stylish pergola designs are extremely attractive and provide visual interest in an otherwise ordinary backyard.
  3. Minimalist landscaping – The trend towards more streamlined landscaping has largely followed the trend of more minimalistic interiors. Don’t let the term “minimalist” make you think your yard will be bare. Lush, overgrown flower beds may be attractive, but can require lots of upkeep, and could end up becoming more visual clutter than stylish accent. Many backyards are now being decorated using mono-tone flower beds, with varying shades of pinks, whites and lavenders. Also popular is native landscaping of succulents which rely on shape and texture over bursts of color. The appeal of large flower bushes may still appeal for some, but the trend towards more manageable landscaping is hard to ignore.
  4. Smart Technology – Just like inside your home, your cell phone can connect with just about any piece of technology outside too! From sprinklers to water fountains, your phone can be used to manage nearly every aspect of your backyard. Lighting in particular is popular, with new LED light technology providing longer life for many outdoor lighting fixtures, allowing more regular use and less maintenance. The convenience of turning it on or off with your phone is just icing on the cake! Some of these fixtures offer elaborate applications that allow for time sensitive lighting changes. There are now even fire pits that you can control with your phone.
  5. Mixed Materials – Outdoor spaces are mimicking the interior design trend of merging soft and hard materials as well as bringing unusual elements to the yard. Concrete pavers accent soft reclaimed wood benches. Pools trim is gleaming glass tiling surrounded by lush grass which rolls up to the edge. Country and rustic charm can come together with sleek modern designs in your backyard and create a visually interesting space that’s also durable and easy to keep clean.

As the weather warms up and you find yourself spending more time outside, carefully consider what changes you might want to make in your backyard. Whether you’re looking for the convenience of smart lights, the stylish shade of a pergola, or anything in between, investing in your backyard living space is an investment leading to many great times you’ll spend enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard for years to come.