2020 Vision:
Outdoor Living Design Trend Watch

The life of the average American homeowner seems to get more hectic with every passing year. The home, itself, has come to represent a personal sanctuary–a welcome respite from the stresses of daily life outside the home. It’s no longer just the place where we eat dinner, watch a little TV and then rest our heads until getting on the merry-go-round again the next morning. It’s now the place where we go to enjoy life to its fullest or to tune out the rest of the world for a little while.

This evolution began in the 90s with the trend of home theaters, where families could host movie nights or game-watching parties. Following the real estate crash of 2008, we saw a sharp rise in families investing in outdoor living spaces where they could enjoy a “staycation” versus spending money on travel. This trend continued to develop to the point where outdoor kitchens practically became standard for custom new home construction. As the outdoor living trend continued to evolve, we gradually saw more sophisticated thought going into outdoor design, creating spaces intended to be a true extension of the interior home instead of a mere afterthought.

Peering into the coming year, here are our top five predictions of how trends will continue to evolve.

Nature’s Influence + Material Combinations

As our lives become more entwined with technology, a natural human response has been an increased need for what is known in the design world as biophilic design elements. This can include natural elements (such as wood, plant life, rocks, water or fire) or design elements that mimic natural elements. Biophilic design allows us to maintain our connection with nature within the built environment. At the same time, however, there has been an increased demand for low-maintenance landscaping, whether due to water-conservation demands, environmental consciousness, or simply a lack of free time to devote to yardwork. Expect to see this translate into an increase in mixed-material designs and hardscape designs that are intertwined with landscaping or artificial turf. The rising trend of smooth, contemporary patios will also be “softened” with the integration of textural design elements like gravel or a textured paver border.

  • Mixed Materials Fire Pit Patio Paver Design Trends
  • Porcelain pavers and artificial turf design
  • Porcelain pavers and rock garden design
  • Wood grain porcelain pavers entangled with garden design

A Bridge Between Living and Working Spaces

The boon of technology has blurred the lines between work and home. People who work remotely, whether occasionally or full-time, want comfortable spaces to both work and relax. The need to be mobile and able to “take your work with you” has resulted in an increase in laptop usage, making the traditional “home office” a gradually disappearing element of the past. Although there will continue to be dedicated indoor work spaces, outdoor spaces often offer a change in scenery for the work-at-home crowd, creating a need for WiFi connectivity, comfortable seating, tabletop or bartop workspace, adequate lighting, and charging outlets in the outdoor space. We’ll also see more retaining walls that double as seating and a continued increase in fire features that make spaces livable year-round.

  • Outdoor Paver kitchen design and kitchen table
  • Comfy lounge chairs are a relaxing spot for responding to email.
  • Outdoor bartop seating can be a change of pace for the at-home worker.
  • Paver Fire Pit with Seat Wall

Unique Shapes and Patterns

As interior design trends continue to make their way outdoors, expect to see the shapes and patterns of outdoor design mimic interior trends to bring a retro feel and playfulness to outdoor spaces. Geometric shapes like hexagons and trapezoids make a statement in features like paver shapes, pillows and textiles, rugs and more. In addition, large format shapes and asymmetrical, almost jagged edges will continue as popular styles. Also expect to see a continued rise in faux rug paver patterns, which reinforce the “outdoor room” concept and also help to create a visual separation from one space to the next.

Warmer and Muted Tones Making a Comeback

While cool grays made a splash in residential design and edged out tans and beiges in recent years, 2020 is expected to bring a shift back to warmer hues and softer muted colors. These tones will make their way back into outdoor design as a way to create sanctuary spaces for rest and relaxation. Also expect to see a decline in strict monochromatic design with pops of color that liven up the space or add a touch of whimsy.

Curb Appeal and Front Porch Living

For several years, homeowners had retreated from the front yard, preferring the privacy of backyard living. However, front-of-the-home outdoor living spaces appeared as a design trend in 2019 and will continue to become a focal point in 2020. As lot sizes continue to get smaller, we’ll see more front porches and paver patios that are not only a greeting area, but also used as gathering and living space. Picturesque driveways and welcoming paver walkways are also rising in popularity as homeowners seek out “Instagrammable” curb appeal.

4 Replies to “2020 Vision:
Outdoor Living Design Trend Watch”

    1. The modular paver is Dublin Cobble and the asymmetrical paver is Belgian Cobble. The color tone is Driftwood. This installation is in the Carolinas. Keep in mind that color blends vary by region because they are manufactured using regionally quarried aggregates.

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