Redesigning Your Backyard Patio for 2021

Outdoor living trends for the new year

2020 was a heck of a year. It is a year that forced many people to stay at home for lengths previously unheard of in our modern times. It caused many of us to reconsider our interior and exterior spaces at home to maximize comfort and utility in the face of this nationwide lockdown. People across the United States learned how to work from their homes’ comfort and maximize their outdoor space for convenience and entertainment. 2020 saw an incredible surge in home improvements, renovations, and outdoor expansions. 

Both last year and now in 2021, our collective patios, gardens, porches, and yards (both front and back) have come to serve an even greater purpose than they did before. These spaces have functioned as our places of refuge, our at-home gymnasiums, and even our offices where we work from home. 

While it is hard to stay positive in the face of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, there are some dark clouds with a silver lining. These events have forced us to pursue lifestyles that are more sustainable, practical, and humble. It has taught us the value and importance of our physical and mental health and genuinely balancing work and play from home.

While it is exciting that vaccines are beginning to roll out in 2021, judging by the current state of things, our outdoor spaces will likely continue to be our primary spaces for work, family socialization, and relaxation. This article will discuss some popular new trends for those still looking to improve or expand their outdoor living space.

Creating an Outdoor Space for Year-Round Use

Considering how accustomed we have become to life at home, it is not a stretch to imagine that the majority of people will be continuing to utilize their outdoor area in the coming year. To make the most of your outdoor space, it is essential to weatherproof your furniture and equipment to be usable all year long. You can take several steps or gadgets you can invest in to make your space functional regardless of the time of year or weather conditions.

As you may have heard in the news, medical supplies and protective gear have been in short supply since the beginning of the pandemic. We have also seen shortages of certain foodstuffs and manufactured goods. Possibly the strangest (yet logical) of the many supply shortages that we faced during the fight against COVID-19 was the nationwide outdoor heater shortage. 

As the virus raged on into summer and then into fall, many of us realized our holiday gatherings would be on hiatus if we didn’t figure out how to keep a large open space warm in the dead of winter. These units are becoming available again just as we begin to leave the winter season, but the smart homeowner will invest these preemptively for the colder months ahead.

Expect more significant investment in products that make our patios, balconies, and backyards more livable in extreme temperatures. Heat lamps and fire pits are a great option to snuggle up to. There are so many types of fire pits that you can easily find a style that works well for your outdoors. Several strategically placed outdoor rugs can do a ton of heavy lifting when reducing the chill from the ground. As for the hotter months, we love retractable shade fixtures, such as umbrellas and shade sails, to repel the afternoon sun. Drop-down screens can be installed to enclose patio spaces and help fend off insects. Fans are also a huge help, whether it’s bringing an indoor fan outside for a breeze or installing a ceiling fan outdoors.

Green Thumb Gardeners

Gardening as a hobby has become dramatically more prevalent during this time of lockdown. People took to gardening to pass the time, save money on produce, and brighten their outdoor space with living plants. Gardens are an excellent investment and require less upkeep than you might think. They are fantastic to have year-round and can serve as a great educational tool for parents with children at home. 

Make sure to grow to produce in season, and you will be eating fresh and healthy all year round. Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and other hardy veggies as soon as the soil is workable. Once you’re sure the last of winter’s frost is over, your options widen. Lettuce, radishes, carrots, and string beans are all easy to grow outside of winter. By spring, it’s time to turn over those veggie boxes with our favorites: melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash for some of the best outdoor meals you’ve ever made.

Composting and Self-Sustaining Gardens: Composting is a hot topic right now, and the availability of community composting programs awareness and participation has increased. Composting helps reduce landfill waste and helps decrease the amount of trash sent to landfills by 80 percent. Composting creates a “superfood” for your garden and can help your plants sustain themselves. The best part of composting is that it’s free and efficient.  People and communities that compost will rise as sustainability become a greater priority across the globe.

Some scientists believe that a collective increase in at-home gardening across the globe will have small yet noticeable benefits to the environment. Gardens can play a small role within the greater scope of the climate but counted together, every outdoor space in the urban environment can cumulatively make significant strides. That means property owners and renters can make environmentally responsible choices in the process of conceiving and constructing their gardens.

Some of his best tips for cultivating a sustainable garden include setting up a drip irrigation system with a rain sensor to water your plants, avoiding using toxic materials and chemicals to help your plants grow, covering bare soil with green mulch, opting for a diversity of plant species, and going with perennials over annuals when possible. Sustain wildlife and maintain a habitat-friendly garden for birds and pollinators.

Residential Gardens for City Folk: Creating a dynamic outdoor space doesn’t have to be limited by your lack of square footage — it just requires a bit more forethought. Gardening on balconies can do wonders for our mental health, as well as give us a new (and manageable) hobby in 2021. Taking advantage of outside walls is a beautiful way to inject color into space with more plants—or even a nature-inspired mural. Editing is the key in all good design, and allowing one or two areas to be unused can make a small city garden appear larger. Strategize where to place pops of color to make the most of your small but mighty space.

When selecting plants for city growth, try to incorporate native plants into your garden. Native plants are best because they provide benefits for regional birds and insects. They are often more suited to the local soils and temperatures than ornamental plants you can order online.

Party in the Front

While the backyard has been a fabulous place to relax, unwind, find peace of mind, discover a new hobby, we’re now looking to our front yards to be a warm and inviting space to entertain friends, family, and neighbors as we slowly return to normalcy. There’s still a long road ahead before we can welcome all our loved ones inside for dinner parties and happy hours, and the front yard is a beautiful place to set a long table, socially distance, and converse with long lost nearby neighbors.

This season is an excellent chance to upgrade or invest in some nice furniture for the front, such as a porch swing or a table set. A collection of socially distanced chairs and tables make for a great start to a community gathering. Make sure to factor in outdoor lighting so that everyone is well lit into the evening. String lights are a magical element you can implement here.

Seamlessly Transition from Indoors to Outside

If you fancy yourself as a design or gardening enthusiast, then you have likely heard of the term “biophilic design.” This concept is used to increase one’s connectivity to nature through architecture. As most of us have been doing almost everything at home for over a year, creating a natural flow between indoors and out will not only maximize your home’s space but will also give you a much-needed mental break.

To achieve the feeling of a seamless transition from the inside of your home to the outside, arrange the furniture as if the outside and indoor areas were the same room. By treating both spaces as one room, you take the outside in and make the entire space more usable. Another way to create a marriage between indoors and out is to use the same flooring and fabrics in both locations. Outdoor fabrics are phenomenal for a comfortable indoor living; plus, they protect from messy pets and kids.