We’re not the first to observe that COVID-19 changed the way we think about our homes. Nonetheless, two years on from the dawn of the pandemic, it’s hard to overstate just how significant this change has been.
In the early days of COVID, when travel restrictions and business closures affected us all, many people started thinking creatively about their outdoor living spaces. Those trends have continued, and as we approach the treasured spring and summer months in Minnesota, there’s renewed interest in creating fun, relaxing outdoor spaces to enjoy with friends and family.
1. The “outdoor room”
If you can overlook the oxymoron, this trend is one that can’t be missed. According to Wayfair’s 2022 Outdoor Trends Report, scores of people are searching for outdoor pergola kits. You’ve likely seen a pergola, even if the term is unfamiliar (see feature image for reference). A pergola kit includes all you need to assemble the structure. Once you have the pergola in place, the bones of your “outdoor room” are set.
Pergolas are great because they provide some shade and potential rain-cover (depending on the kind you buy)—but they also structure an otherwise open outdoor space. And they’re growing in popularity. Just how popular, you ask? According to Wayfair, searches for outdoor pergola kits are up 369% compared to 2021.
2. Dine al fresco—and cook too
Outdoor kitchens are predicted to continue rising in popularity in 2022. When it comes to designing an outdoor kitchen, the options are seemingly endless. Whether you want a simple grill and a sink, or an elaborate grill, mini fridge, sink, stovetop, and cabinets too—you can design the space that fits your desires (and your budget, of course!).
3. Stylish seating
Say goodbye to basic patio furniture. 2022 will bring the comfort of indoor furniture to your backyard, porch, or deck. Pair this with the “outdoor room” or the outdoor kitchen, and your home will be the place everyone wants to come for an evening of food and drinks.
4. Work from home—outside
Even though some companies are returning to the office, many will still have hybrid, or even fully remote, work options available. People are getting creative with makeshift workstations popping up in unexpected places—including outdoors. Some have transformed garden sheds into mini-offices, while others have set up shop on their deck or front porch. Choose what you like, just be sure the Wi-Fi connection is strong enough when you’re out working in the sun!
5. Re-think the front porch
Perhaps you noticed more people sitting out front last year as you walked through your neighborhood. According to Google trends, the number of searches for “front porch” increased by 1.42% in 2021. The front porch can be a great place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or an early evening glass of wine. Depending on your set up, you could include a few comfortable chairs, a couch, or even a porch swing.
6. Hot tub relaxation
The outdoor hot tub is making a comeback. Another by-product of people spending more time at home, it’s a great addition to the backyard. Whether you want to slow down and enjoy time with family and friends after a long week at work, recover from a workout, or just get some alone time—an outdoor hot tub will do the trick.
7. Expand your home garden
While home gardening has risen steadily in popularity for many years, it’s becoming a key element of outdoor living. Many people are incorporating aspects of their garden into other outdoor living spaces, such as pergolas or front porch sets. Whether you’re a committed vegetable gardener or someone who likes sprucing up your home’s exterior with pretty plants and flowers, the benefits of home gardening are numerous. Further, an environmentally friendly garden is a great way to help pollinators and other species flourish!
8. Up your outdoor technology game
If you’ve ever been to a friend’s house for a backyard movie night, you’ll understand the appeal of an outdoor theater. Outdoor streaming is growing in popularity, and the good thing is that a screen and projector can be relatively inexpensive. Watching a movie under the stars is a great way to unwind with the family, all while enjoying the best of indoor and outdoor at the same time.
9. Hang the lights
Warm, fun lighting is a key part of a good backyard set up. Hanging string lights have become a go-to for many backyard fanatics. Their versatility and affordability make them a great choice.