The popularity of outdoor living spaces has never been higher, and the appeal of the great outdoors seems to keep getting greater with homeowners across the country investing more time and money into their outdoor spaces. As the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products, Trex Company keeps a finger on the pulse of this rapidly growing industry. Based on input from internal experts and insights from dealers, contractors and industry insiders, the company has, once again, compiled its annual Outdoor Living Forecast predicting design trends for 2020 and beyond.
“It’s always fascinating to compare the trends reported by our customers with those projected by the industry at large,” notes Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex Company. “This year, we added insights from two high-profile design and lifestyle experts – Alison Victoria and Evette Rios – to the mix. Their perspectives helped to reinforce our predictions and take our forecast to a whole new level.”
Following are 10 trends that will influence outdoor living as we begin a new decade of design:
Say so long to matchy, matchy and monochromatic. 2020 is the year to mix it up – both indoors and out. Add visual interest to an outdoor space by juxtaposing materials such as concrete and composite, wicker and aluminum, copper and stone. Integrate nature-inspired materials that maintain cohesion with the natural surroundings, and infuse color and pattern with pillows, cushions, furnishings and decorative accents.
As homeowners increasingly find inspiration for their outdoor spaces in commercial settings, like upscale hotels and restaurants, there is a growing shift toward sleek, contemporary designs and materials, larger expanses of glass, smooth surfaces, and clean lines. Outdoors, this trend is manifesting in more commercially inspired railing styles. Trex Signature® Railing, for instance, features a range of minimalist, yet sturdy, aluminum options, including rod rail, glass panels and mesh inserts – designed to optimize sightlines and deliver a modern, industrial flair.
Another commercial-to-residential trend is the use of cladding, which is growing in popularity across the country. Functionally, cladding provides a protective rainscreen to a home or outdoor living area, while also improving curb appeal. Modern exteriors with clean lines and simple designs are among those attributes most commonly requested by homebuyers and homeowners with a particular emphasis on wood looks. For those seeking the aesthetics of wood cladding without the hassles of constant upkeep, composite cladding offers a high-performance, low-maintenance alternative.
“Anyone who follows my work knows that I’m all about cladding. I’m also all about the ease and aesthetics of Trex composite boards,” says Victoria, host of HGTV’s ‘Windy City Rehab.’ “I use Trex for all of my cladding applications – and even have it on my own deck at home. It is fresh and distinctive and lends a modern interior aesthetic to an outdoor space.”
As the foodie phenomenon continues to thrive, homeowners are increasingly making room – both in their budgets and floorplans – for outdoor kitchens. In recent years, outdoor cooking areas have evolved from stand-alone grills to fully appointed spaces with specialty appliances ranging from smokers and side burners to pizza ovens and integrated refrigerated storage. Capturing this trend is the new Trex® Outdoor Kitchens™ collection. The luxurious lineup features stainless steel cabinetry solutions in color and style options that allow designers and homeowners to create functional spaces that rival interior kitchens – all crafted to withstand and endure exposure to the elements.
Among the biggest trends for 2020 is natural greenery. Installing a vertical garden or ‘living wall’ outside your home can give you plenty of extra space for growing your favorite plants while also serving as an attractive, artful addition to your deck. There are numerous plans, tips and tutorials available online for designing and building a vertical garden. For optimal structural support and aesthetics, Trex® Cladding™ is an ideal choice for these projects, delivering premium aesthetics with all the durability, low-maintenance and eco-friendly benefits of Trex decking.
The allure of flickering flames from an outdoor fire are hard to rival or resist, which is why fire features will continue to be ‘hot’ this season. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, fire features add warmth, ambience and a touch of drama to any deck or patio. Fire pots, such as those in the new Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water™ collection, can be positioned almost anywhere to create a cozy gathering spot – or combined in a series to provide an ambient boundary for larger outdoor areas. For even greater visual impact, a fire table can serve as a focal point and elevate the luxury and comfort of an outdoor space. Whether a warm summer evening or a cold winter night, a fire feature can make it feel like it’s a good idea to be outside any time of the year.
Few outdoor elements elicit the same reaction as a well-placed water feature. The soothing sound of trickling water conjures calm and can set a relaxed tone and atmosphere. It can also act as a charming focal point for a backyard and can tie together an entire landscape. In addition to distinctive fire elements, the new Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water™ collection features a range of water spillways and water bowls made of premium-grade copper and stainless steel, and expertly engineered to ensure smooth water flow and optimal aesthetics to add beauty and tranquility to any outdoor space.
Urban outdoor spaces and smaller yards will benefit from big imaginations and clever innovations in 2020. Inspired by home improvement TV and magazines, look for design-savvy, yet space-constrained, homeowners to employ inventive uses of screening, fencing, all-weather curtains, and lattice to maximize area and privacy in creative ways.
If you have a raised deck, there is undoubtedly some open space underneath. While, historically, this space has been used for storage, the design trend for 2020 is to turn it into bonus living space by installing a deck drainage system. Designed to divert water away from a deck, systems such as Trex® RainEscape® create dry space beneath an elevated deck that can be outfitted with everything from furniture and accessories to lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and entertainment components. This deck feature allows homeowners to maximize their space and provides convenient cover from the sun and rain.
As outdoor living continues to gain popularity across all regions, homeowners are becoming more willing to invest in elements that will extend the use of their outdoor spaces past sunset and past the traditional outdoor living season. Deck lighting incorporated into railings, post caps and stairs can increase safety and ambience while also extending the time that homeowners can spend outdoors. Pergolas, patio umbrellas and misters offer respite and refreshment on hot, sunny days. When temperatures drop, heating features, cozy throws and protective screens can provide welcome warmth and allow for use and enjoyment of an outdoor space all year long.