In the last year, balconies, patios and backyards have shown their value more than ever before. Proven by the increased demand for propane heaters, pools, fire pits and all-weather furniture, the focus of many current home renovations is on outdoor spaces. With an uncertain future, a continued pandemic and slowly lifting quarantine restrictions, people are craving nature and an escape from reality. So while travel might still be off the table for now, check out these top trends for creating a staycation worthy upgrade right in your own backyard.

Natural Material

A lean towards environmental awareness has pushed patio furniture away from traditional metal and plastic construction. These days look for weatherproof sets in sustainable materials like bamboo, wood, wicker, rattan or cane. Cushions can be cotton or canvas and treated for UV resistance with an outdoor rating. When properly maintained, outdoor soft goods can last for years. Avoid anything processed with toxic chemicals or materials that have a high environmental impact. If you have your heart set on plastic, look for a brand that uses reclaimed materials and recyclables in their production. Using smart composites means furniture and decking will last for seasons to come and will not need to be replaced annually.

Warm Tones

Most recently, home trends have shown designers leaning towards warmer color palettes. When before, gray, blue, white, and black were popular; homeowners are now turning to earth tones to make a space feel more inviting. Terracotta, peach, red, and cream are all popular choices and often accented with taupe, golden yellow and sage green. While these colors can be confined to the patio furniture itself, often the color scheme extends to house trim, accent colors and plants and hardscape.

Bring the Indoors Out

The idea of an outdoor room is nothing new, but this year designers are taking it up to a whole new level. From unfussy throws and decorative pillows to coordinated sofas and loungers, pergolas, poolside cabanas and outdoor seating areas should feel like a room of their own. Think of the space as an extension of your house, echoing the style, look and feel of the interior of the house. Add lighting, tablescapes and potted plants to coordinate the look and pull everything together. Finally set the ambiance with lighting. From overhead outdoor chandeliers to classic market lights, the warm glow of candles, fire or lanterns will complete the indoor feel of your outdoor space.

Get Creative with Greenery

While most yards will have some sort of foliage, this year designers are thinking beyond the lawn for landscaping. Using a combination of hardscape and greenery can have a grand effect with very low maintenance. Think sustainably when it comes to water wise plants and native species. For touches of nature in an urban setting, turn to potted specimens draw the eye up. Use vines to twine around arbors and up walls and small standalone water features to house floating plants and aquatic varietals. Create your own tiny oasis with topiaries, suspended ferns, and green clad trellis’. And while non-edible plants are visually delightful, don’t forget about the possibility of an organic vegetable garden. Whether you have room for raised beds or are living small with containers, an herb tower or tomato patch can have a fun and functional effect on any outdoor area.

Multifunctional Spaces

2021 forced homeowners to get creative with their space, and in turn this functionality extended to the garden and patio. Like the rest of the house, using porches, backyards and balconies as a versatile space is a great way to expand your living areas. Not only should a patio offer a comfortable place to kick back, but it is a great opportunity to add touches that will make it useful for other activities as well. Create a paver or cement pad perfect for workouts or socializing, add side tables and configurable furniture for taking conference calls or working on a laptop, design a kitchen area and add a large farm table for socially distanced outdoor dining. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.