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Last year, as the pandemic started and people got used to spending much more time than normal at home, our focus was on turning our outdoor living spaces into comfortable enclaves where we could enjoy spending time with family. This year, that trend continues. We are still seeing backyards, porches and patios being upgraded with multipurpose areas, spaces to grow our own vegetables and herbs, shade structures and areas for eating al fresco. 2021 trends in outdoor living are about all this and more.

Cooking and Eating Outside

dining outdoors cooking fire table
An outdoor fire table allows you to cook up a storm for guests at your barbecue

In 2020, we learned the importance of having a special place to cook and eat since restaurants were shut down. If you did not do it last year, 2021 may be your year to upgrade your backyard with an outdoor kitchen. If you really brushed up on your cooking skills, you may want to include some gourmet extras such as an outdoor pizza oven, fire table, a multi-tiered smoker, plenty of space for prepping food, a full-size refrigerator, a gas cooktop and more.

Tommy Bahama royal island lanai dining set
Tommy Bahama royal island lanai dining set

Those of us who are lucky enough to have plenty of square footage in our backyards might enjoy designing a full outdoor dining room set with matching table and chairs and perhaps a buffet for storing accoutrements. But even if you only have a small space to work with, you can still incorporate an island or bar made to withstand the weather with plenty of barstools for seating near your outdoor kitchen.

Great Gardening

Did you try your hand at creating a vegetable or herb garden last year? This year you may want to expand on that by adding space for herbs, fruit trees and even edible flowers. Not only is growing your own food an ideal hobby, it is a great way to eat healthier and add lots of color and texture variety to your diet. In fact, some homeowners in the San Diego area this year are focused on creating immunity gardens filled with vitamin-rich vegetables, herb gardens to add fresh flavor to any dish and something many refer to as “meatless Monday gardens” with plenty of ingredient options for hearty, plant-based dishes.

Make Your Space Count

Connexion modular outdoor sofa
A modular sofa like this Connexion modular outdoor sofa allows you to rearrange the pieces.

Another 2021 trends in outdoor living is adding multipurpose outdoor furniture. Livable pieces such as deep cushioned ottomans that open to reveal storage space, modular sofas that can be rearranged on a whim to accommodate social distancing, and occasional tables that include beverage holders and storage drawers are definitely in this year.

Protection and Privacy

tuuci equinox cabana
This TUUCI Equinox cabana provides plenty of protection in style.

Last year the outdoor umbrella industry saw an uptick in sales. Various styles of shade features were popular, and that trend is certainly continuing. Shade elements that provide both protection and privacy help to create a secluded space outdoors for exercising, working from home and just enjoying time spent outside. In addition to outdoor umbrellas, consider adding a cabana, outdoor screen, or pergola. Even your patio can benefit from adding drapery panels along the walls to create a cozy and private space. Building walls from tile, concrete, wood, or brick is another way to create protection and seclusion in your luxury backyard oasis.

These are just a few of 2021 trends in outdoor living space design. Stay tuned for the second part of this article series, which focuses on tech and social activity additions to your backyard, patio or deck.

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