Outdoor living is having a moment. With so much time spent huddled for comfort indoors last year, people are now ready to get outside, feel the sun on their faces, and enjoy alfresco spaces to their fullest potential.
Certain trends in outdoor living skyrocketed since last year, according to a study from Yelp, with searches for “outdoor deck,” “patio heaters,” and “outdoor lighting” jumping 373%, 263%, and 88% respectively. ‘Tis the summer season, and famed interior expert Jeremiah Brent echoed the increased need for inspiring outdoor spaces.
“We are all viewing our homes through a new pair of lenses after this past year,” Brent explains. “In a season where travel was no longer an option and something we found ourselves fantasizing about, we asked ourselves, ‘What was it about the resort in Portugal that we loved so much, and how can we create that same feeling in our own backyard?’”
Meet the Expert
Jeremiah Brent is a widely respected interior designer whose work has been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest and Harper’s Bazaar. He was the host of Emmy Award-winning show, Home Made Simple for two seasons on OWN.
Brent continues in sharing his eagerness to utilize an outdoor space—not only to enjoy the warm weather but as an opportunity to implement new design elements as well.
“To put it simply: we’ve never been more ready for summer," Brent says. "Over this past year, our outdoor spaces have truly become our haven. Through a little bit of intentionality and connections to the right resources, there are so many beautiful ways to transform your backyard into a timeless escape for your family.”
Through a little bit of intentionality and connections to the right resources, there are so many beautiful ways to transform your backyard into a timeless escape for your family.
Hosting events in both indoor and outdoor spaces is one trend Brent says is on the rise.
“There’s something about the gathering of friends and a simple meal while overlooking the children playing outside, whether that’s in the midst of summer next to the pool or late November with the outdoor heaters and fire pit counteracting the evening chill,” Brent shares.
Another favorite addition to an outdoor space for Brent? Antique planters and bistro lighting, which he notes can instantly add warmth to a space that can often feel plain. There is always room to beautify a backyard—and even have it match our carefully coordinated interiors. But, the designer cautions that a common mistake he finds in outdoor spaces is over-embellishment.
“There’s no need to overwhelm an outdoor area with accessories,” he says. “Embrace nature and layer in a few intentional elements. A little bit goes a long way.”
Brent shared with us six of the top outdoor trends he implemented in his space, plus tips on how to achieve them—definitely a win-win.
Elevate Alfresco Entertaining
Why not take a beautiful meal outside your dining room and dine under the stars instead? Brent loves this ability to collide indoor activities with the wonder of being in nature.
“Invest in a simple outdoor dining table and host an easy dinner with close friends,” he suggests. “Once you begin actually using a space for entertaining, no matter how simple or elaborate, things will naturally evolve.”
Invest In Outdoor Living Rooms
Having a calming and cohesive theme running between your indoors and outdoors is increasing in popularity among designers and homeowners. Your outdoor space can continue to tell the story of your interiors and be sure to bring intentional touches of décor outside as well, according to Brent.
"Add a vase of flowers to your patio," Brent suggests. "People often only focus on plants and greenery, but the intentionality of cut roses creates continuity between the indoors and outdoors."
Consider Deck and Patio Additions
A deck or a patio is key to enjoying the summer season outdoors. This creates so much room to play: you can add a full outdoor sectional, kitchen, or dining area all housed on a patio.
"If installations feel out of reach, try painting or staining your current exterior concrete or deck," Brent notes. "A fresh coat can do wonders without involving major construction."
Bring In Water Features
"So much of what I love about a water feature is the visual it creates, but the sound is equally important," Brent says. "If installing a fountain feels unrealistic, try an outdoor speaker and your favorite Spotify playlist. Sound is one of the biggest factors when creating an environment. and there’s more than one way to address it in your space."
Go For Easy, Rustic Landscaping
The days of carefully cut grass and rounded hedges are seeing themselves out. Brent notes that a planter bed of simple greenery and organic landscaping works wonders in a backyard. Your outdoor space will feel curated, yet naturalistic.
Don't Forget the Shed
"Paint your outdoor shed the same color as your house," Brent suggests. "No matter what it holds inside, mimicking the colorway will elevate the feel of your backyard."