Five Outdoor Living Trends for 2021

fantastic deck
(Photo courtesy Trex)

Now, more than ever, outdoor living is in. While homeowners have increasingly invested time and money into their yards in recent years, 2020 saw interest in outdoor living spike to unprecedented levels, as homeowners everywhere adjusted to a new normal by reimagining how to use and enjoy their exterior spaces. As a result, the outdoor living design trends for 2021 have never been more inventive.

Here are five outdoor living trends that will be heating up this summer:

1. Outdoor Offices

Among the top trends predicted for the coming year is the emergence of outdoor workspaces. With working from home and remote learning expected to continue well into 2021, contractors report increased interest in outdoor spaces that can comfortably and functionally accommodate professionals and students.

Requests for stylish sheds and backyard cottages are on the rise. Pergolas, too, are in high demand. In fact, leading home design site Houzz is calling 2021 “the year of the pergola” due to the pergola’s versatility and affordability.

A relatively easy addition to any deck or yard, a pergola creates the look and feel of an outdoor room while adding a distinct architectural element. Of course, its main purpose is providing shade — essential for enhancing visibility of laptop screens and devices, as well as offering cool relief on hot days.

2. Expanded Elbow Room

Our homes have become offices, classrooms, fitness facilities and rehearsal spaces. It’s no wonder many homeowners (and occupants) find themselves suffering from cabin fever and desperate for some extra elbow room. One simple solution is to optimize the space beneath an elevated deck, an often-overlooked area, by adding an underdeck drainage system.

Designed to divert water away from the foundation, systems like Trex® RainEscape® protect a deck’s substructure from moisture and create dry space underneath the deck surface that can be used for any number of purposes — from storing seasonal items to serving as bonus living space outfitted with everything from furniture, accessories, lighting and entertainment components, to workout equipment, toys and games for at-home “recess,” or even a dance floor, mirror and ballet bar.

3. Take the Plunge

Another trend driven by the pandemic has been the dramatic increase in residential pools, spas and water features. Between travel restrictions and indefinite closings of community pool facilities, homeowners across the country are taking the plunge and installing swimming pools, hot tubs and ponds in their backyards.

To give these additions a finished look, surround them with high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking. Unlike wood, composite decking won’t rot, warp, stain or fade and never needs sanding, staining or sealing.

If you want to spend more time enjoying your poolside deck rather than maintaining it, consider Trex decking, which delivers the beauty of wood without the environmental impact, the labor-intensive upkeep or the natural deterioration over time. Plus, it’s made from 95 percent recycled materials, making it a sustainable choice to feel good about.

4. Luxury Staycation

Fueled by the drastic decline in domestic and international travel over the past year, homeowner interest in replicating the sophisticated style and comforts of a luxury hotel or resort in their homes has continued to grow. From plush towels and perfectly plumped pillows to outdoor accents like composite cladding, fire tables, water features and industrial railing, commercially inspired designs can give any home environment the essence of an extravagant staycation.

5. Give it a Try with DIY

The DIY category exploded in 2020, encouraging homeowners to roll up their sleeves and tackle even the most challenging projects — a development experts expect to continue in 2021. Industry analysts are predicting DIY home projects and repairs will shift from a trend to long-term habit, with ambitious DIYers turning to YouTube and sites like for inspiration, motivation and how-to tips — saving time and money, and earning some serious bragging rights.

For more outdoor living ideas and inspiration, visit