6 patio trends that are here to stay for the summer
Outdoors is the new indoors.
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Just as you might spruce up your interior, your outdoor patio needs a little love, too. Sure, you may have a few pieces of patio furniture and a couple of plants, but making a dream destination right outside your door takes a little creativity. As you begin making plans to host friends and family outside, there's no time like the present to peruse outdoor patio ideas and start your patio refresh.
For inspiration, we went straight to the experts, asking which outdoor patio trends are here to stay for the summer—and how you can get the look in your backyard.
1. Soothing earthy tones
There’s a change in the weather for patio color schemes this year, according to Blythe Yost, CEO and co-founder of online landscaping design firm Tilly Design.
“Gray has held court for years, but we expect design to shift from cool colors such as grays and white to warmer earthy colors like tans and browns, bringing a cozy and intimate feeling to spaces,” she says. She has also seen an uptick in designing with a more retro vibe. Think brightly colored hammocks, weave patio chairs, and retro-shaped coffee tables and decks.
All this playfulness doesn’t mean everyone has abandoned the rustic charm and natural beauty we’ve been embracing for years. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, says Yost. Farmhouse chic is still on-trend, but with a bit of an upgrade.
“[The] modern farmhouse [style] is rising in popularity, giving a spin to the farmhouse trend we’ve seen over the past decade,” she continues. For a fresh take on the country living inspired style, combine the clean lines of contemporary design with a cozy farmhouse aesthetic. For example, add a long sleek couch next to barn stable doors or lantern-inspired lights alongside blooming shrubs.
2. Pavers, decking, and tiles to create unique patio floors
Rugs have always been our go-to décor darlings for adding a bit of personality to an outdoor area, but today’s patios are stone-cold serious about finding new ways to up the ante. Yost has been seeing patio floors as décor.
Think of laying large slab pavers in a running bond or grid pattern for a very structured, modern look or using printed tiles to add character to a space. Homeowners are also asking for “decks at grade,” or a deck at ground level with mixing decking and stone that create a more varied patio experience.
“Porcelain is also being used for clean, modern looks,” she says of these pavers and tiles made possible through advances in manufacturing techniques. “It’s typically thinner and comes in lighter colors, so it doesn’t get as hot as more traditional natural products.”
3. Sustainably-made patio furniture and eco-friendly materials
Sustainability (as in many areas of life) is one of today’s biggest patio trends, with many of Yost’s clients choosing composite decking created from partially recycled materials along with sustainable furniture lines. Kathryn Emery, home improvement and lifestyle expert with BeTheBestHome.com, points out many of these elements can rival even the most stunning of inside comforts.
“Patio furniture has evolved into stylish extensions of what’s inside, with beautiful patterns, trending colors and designs, all made of durable materials, with matching rugs and such. You can feel like you’re chillaxing inside, but with the bask of the summer sun,” she explains. When choosing the right furniture, she suggests looking for UV-resistant materials, so the color will last multiple seasons.
4. Shade sails to keep your patio cool
Nothing ruins a nice afternoon lounging on your patio more than realizing you (and your guests) are melting under the summer sun’s hot rays. According to Emery, a functional way to create shade while adding style and, in some cases, color to a backyard is a sail shade.
“Add them above a patio, seating area, garden, anywhere really, viola, you have permanent, semi-permanent or temporary shade,” she says of these trending tent-like panels. “It will block out the UV rays but is breathable to keep the temperature from getting too hot underneath with that summer breeze flowing through.”
Choose one made out of mold-, mildew- and stain-resistant fabric to last many seasons.
5. A backyard bar and grill setup
“As people continue to push entertaining outdoors, we predict you’ll see more elaborate setups, specifically with backyard bar areas,” says Yost.
According to her, a bar-type counter on your patio with stools for friends and family to relax and converse will be the new coveted watering hole amongst friends.
Sips aside, preparing and enjoying meals outside is still going strong as a favorite patio activity. In fact, people are turning up the heat and adding separate areas aside from their main grill set-up with items such as portable pizza ovens or upgraded modern hibachis. Both take little setup and can be put away once the evening is over.
“I am seeing people cooking more outside,” says Emery, noting pizza from her outdoor oven is typically on repeat during her patio-bound summer. Fire features, such as small fire pits that double as outdoor stoves with searing plates for cooking, also help to extend patio playtime into the evening. “Being able to cook everything outside, and not turn on the oven in the heat of summer, not only extends time outside, it saves on energy bills,” she explains.
6. Bright blooms and fragrant herbs
While blooming gardens are the pride and joy of your yard, it’s easy to turn your patio into an oasis of greenery that’s equally as stunning. Pack the space around your furniture with potted fruit trees and annuals. Look at ways to add in pots of colorful flowers in unexpected places, such as gaps between deck railings or along stone walls.
Herb gardens are another growing patio trend. “Many people planted veggie gardens or victory gardens during the pandemic, but they take a lot of time and effort to maintain,” says Yost. “Herb gardens are smaller and easier to maintain. They can be placed right outside a kitchen door and then used for cooking and cocktails.”
And that’s exactly what Emery has in store for her own outdoor area. “With today’s patio, you don’t have to go inside for anything,” she says. “This summer, you'll find me sipping my cocktail, eating my pizza, in the shade, lounging in style outside!”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.