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Outdoor Design Trends for 2021

Outdoor spaces and design have been front and center for a while now. While this category in home design was arguably already on the rise in previous years, many of these outdoor design trends have been more recently spurred from the pandemic, and bolstered with both a greater understanding of climate change and an active move towards being environmentally friendly. Here’s a few we are particularly noticing in 2021.

covered patio with separate outdoor dining and outdoor seating zones


Not just lawns! This means we’re seeing outdoor spaces with:

  1. Seating areas for larger groups

  2. Single seating/hammocks for working from home outdoors and a general shift towards

Utilizing all spaces, both front yards and back, to accommodate for gatherings while maintaining social distance. Whether it’s gathering with a couple neighbors on your front porch to placing a long dining table on the yard for a family dinner, we’ll be seeing usage of this space more frequently.

covered brick roof patio with built in fireplace and outdoor seating and dining furniture


We’re seeing a continual blur of the lines between outdoor and indoor living space – larger doors, windows, and access to outdoor spaces from within the home are more popular now, as we desire to be within nature as often as possible

  1. Covered areas that can allow for TV usage, recreational items like ping-pong tables, and kitchenettes

  2. Pools are still popular, but they’re getting smaller and more lushly decorated to feel a bit more like an escape rather than just a lot of concrete

outdoor roof deck with rug, dining table, chairs and umbrella


In Chicago this might get to a point of impossible in times like January and February, but we’re definitely seeing a rise in outfitting patio and yard spaces to be usable as long as possible.

  1. Thick blankets, outdoor heat lamps or firepits, and covered portions of the yard are all going to be very popular.

  2. Additionally things that make the space more enjoyable in the warmer months like mosquito protection in natural plantings or screens, and awnings to block hot afternoon sun.


In addition to adaptations for year-round usage, we’re seeing spiking trends of using lighting to make sure your outdoor space has all day usage!

  1. Remember to still have areas of darkness, too bright will feel unnatural in the evening

  2. Use warm light to avoid harsh and unnatural light

  3. Use lower watt bulbs for saving electricity and avoiding too much brightness if you have several lamps

urban patio space with furniture and variety of flower containers


We’re seeing further interest in gardening in lots of ways. From simply using botanicals as garden decor to making goals for growing your own food, people are investing in their plants!

  1. Growing herbs/produce with more variety

  2. Beekeeping in areas where possible

  3. Using compost in gardens more fervently

  4. Return of the “cutting garden” to trim and fill vases inside are also more popular this year, again as a way to bring the outdoors in.

  5. Awareness around native vs nonnative plants

Whether you have a small space or a large front and back yard, there are opportunities to include some of these outdoor design trends in your outdoor space and get more out of it year round!


PS – This was a topic for our Tuesdays at Two sessions! You can check out the full video below. Be sure to also look at our post and video on outdoor space design on a budget!

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