How Homeowners are Designing Their Outdoor Living Areas

Last year, we wrote a blog dubbing outdoor living as the No. 1 trend among homeowners. HGTV, Houzz, Architect Magazine, the American Institute of Architects, among many others, all reported that outdoor living was the “it” home improvement. In fact, the institute reported that 60 percent of architectural practices it surveyed said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built, and 69 percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping.

In the 2018 blog, we explored a Houzz study stating that backyards were undergoing several types of additions and improvements: More than 80 percent were being transformed into primarily outdoor entertaining spaces, more than 70 percent focused on becoming outdoor eating spaces, and more than 50 percent were being remodeled into outdoor living rooms. 

Today, we’ll take a step further into outdoor living space trends, uncovering the specifics of what is most popular and desired among homeowners, landscape architects, and lighting designers when it comes to making outdoor living spaces and upgrades.  

Top 5 Outdoor Living Trends of 2019

1.Comfortable Lounging & Convenient Cooking

Lighting ideas for Outdoor Living

This was an easy one. What do hosts want most for their guests? Comfort and a warm, welcoming experience. As a result, comfy lounge areas and outdoor dining seating are at the top of the list of homeowners who like to host. Similarly, these same homeowners also care for convenience, which is why they often enjoy adding an outdoor kitchen and bar as an extension of their home’s interior, making it easy to drink, cook, serve, and relax so that everyone can enjoy the outdoor experience together. Ensuring that comfort and convenience are priority elevates an outdoor living experience into a truly memorable and sought-after one.

2. Herb Gardens

Lighting ideas for Outdoor Living

Herb gardens have become increasingly more popular ever since the farm-to-table movement really took root about a decade ago. Now, with the advent of outdoor kitchens, it makes perfect sense to have an herb garden close by to add mint to summery mojitos, cilantro to a southwestern salad, and rosemary to a steak sizzling on the grill. From little potted plants to elaborate raised beds, herb gardens are certainly becoming a must for homeowners that love to cook and entertain.

3. Nature-Inspired Design

Nature-Inspired Design

Nature has always been a major source for inspiration when it comes to landscape design and hardscaping, so it’s only natural (ha) that nature would influence outdoor living spaces, too. Today, homeowners and landscape architects are choosing elements from the environment, such as natural stone from the property or locally sourced wood, to create a truly organic look and feel. 

They are electing to use live-edge lumber for bar tops and stone in their natural form for patios rather than cutting the materials into precise shapes. This creates a dramatic, earthy feel to the outdoor living space—whether it’s a southwestern flare incorporating red rock, sandstone, and cacti or a rustic retreat using oak and limestone.   

Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention that CAST’s solid bronze lighting fixtures that look remarkable within these landscape settings and blend beautifully within them as they age with a natural patina. 

4. Contemporary Minimalism

Contemporary Minimalism

Another very popular outdoor aesthetic for outdoor living is modern, minimalistic design. A minimalistic outdoor living space creates a powerful statement without much upkeep or investment. Often times, natural stones, woods, and neutral color palettes are selected to achieve this contemporary feel. 

Whether the homeowner has a tiny urban garden or a large estate and entertaining area, modern minimalism is a coveted design approach to create a calming, beautiful environment. 

5. Functional Area & Pathway Lighting

Lighting ideas for Outdoor Living

What’s an outdoor entertaining area without lighting? Professional landscape lighting enhances the experience and the mood the homeowner is working to create while beautifying the property, the outdoor living space, and keeping it safe and usable for all who visit it. In fact, the second most popular landscape design element to be lit by landscape lighting is hardscaping, specifically patios and decks. These entertainment spaces are most often lit because of their frequency of use. And because natural bluestone or minimalistic polished concrete are on the rise, and are notorious for being slippery when wet, homeowners want to ensure the safety of their family and guests by adding outdoor lighting so everyone can safely navigate the hardscape. 

Staycations: The Cause & (Side) Effect

Lighting ideas for Outdoor Living

Following the financial crisis of 2008, more homeowners were opting to spend their vacations at home in order to save money on travel expenses. Instead, they used that money to invest in their homes and create outdoor living spaces. Because they loved the space so much after it was complete, an unexpected side effect occurred: They continued to opt for staycations over traveling elsewhere for vacation or holidays, and continued to save money! Outdoor living never felt so good. Would you agree?