By Joe Raboine
Over the past two years, outdoor living and design trends have changed drastically. A backyard is no longer just a place for homeowners to entertain or a yard to mow every couple of weeks. Now, backyards are an oasis featuring everything from entertaining spaces to gardens to outdoor kitchens and even putting greens. There has been a newfound appreciation for outdoor spaces since 2020 when many were only able to gather in small groups outdoors for some much-needed time with family, friends and neighbors. Outdoor living is now a priority for many of your customers.
With 2023 just around the corner, next year is looking to be an exciting year filled with new perspectives, especially in outdoor living design. Let’s look at a few trends (some new, some that will continue) that we expect to see in 2023.
As with many industries, sustainability continues to be a growing priority for many. Interest in outdoor living is at an all-time high, and you’ll likely see customers requesting products such as permeable pavers and components made from recycled materials. Homeowners are seeking spaces that encourage a balanced, healthy lifestyle and are diverse enough to meet their needs while being environmentally friendly.
When preparing for projects in 2023, keep this in mind and ensure you and your teams have the right suppliers to fulfill requests for more environmentally friendly products.
Exploring color and texture
Playing with color and texture is reaching a peak in outdoor design, which gives you even more opportunities to get creative with projects. Rather than choosing one surface to cover most of an outdoor area, mixing materials such as wood, metal, glass and gravel can elevate the look and feel of a space. Exploring color and texture as a natural extension of modular design adds more depth and dimension to a space. With the rising popularity of this trend, you have more opportunities to play with color through creative patterns, unique color palettes and incorporating textured hardscapes into your designs.
Expanding functional oases
Homeowners today are interested in having their outdoor spaces serve dual purposes. They want a beautiful area for relaxation and entertainment, and some are even looking to these areas as a source of food for their family. Traditional gardening is seeing a resurgence through the implementation of raised and vertical gardens that incorporate materials like hardscapes as the base. While some of the simpler designs can be tackled through DIY, you may see increased requests for more intricate raised beds where homeowners can plant herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Bringing the indoors outside
While not a new trend, more people view their outdoor and indoor spaces as functional extensions of each other. Homeowners are looking to incorporate levels of privacy, especially if they have a smaller lot. Shade structures like pergolas and decorative screen panels offer this seclusion, as well as protection from the sun and heat for customers in hotter climates.
We still see multiple fully functional outdoor rooms as a top item to optimize the outdoor living experience, such as outdoor kitchens, firepit living rooms and more. The backyard also is now a go-to spot for fun, with homeowners wanting to add games such as outdoor pool tables, mini-golf, and even outdoor scrabble. Consider how to incorporate these into the overall design to maximize both entertainment and functionality.
Incorporating technology into the design processwill only continue growing. When it comes to design, especially for large outdoor living spaces, you need optimized tools to give customers the best experience. Using augmented reality (AR) speeds up the process for both parties, as you can show customers everything down to the smallest details in their project. The quality of AR technology is faster than ever, and the industry is continuously improving on technology to maximize efficiency. Think about how you can invest in the right technologies to best serve your clients in 2023.
Next year is shaping up to be another busy one for outdoor living professionals. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends so you can create the best outdoor living spaces and deliver on client expectations in 2023.
Joe Raboine is director of residential hardscapes at Belgard.