An outdoor living trends report created by decking manufacturer Deckorators focused on what homeowners have recently been requesting most from contractors for their outdoor spaces, including functional design and regional color trends.

“Our contractor experts are seeing their clients prioritize a balance of form and function. It’s all about creating a flexible-use space full of elements that enhance the enjoyment of the outdoor experience,” says Michelle Hendricks, Deckorators category marketing manager.

Trend highlights from the 2024 Outdoor Living Report include:

Functional design: Homeowners are looking to utilize their outdoor spaces for multiple purposes and in all kinds of weather, from season to season. Flexible-use zones throughout the deck are becoming a design standard, revealing a trend toward maximizing utility and prioritizing spatial flow.

Cocktail rails: Signifying a shift away from the structured dining table, the recent spike in bar rail additions frees up space on the deck and creates additional opportunities for socializing.

Cocktail rails are easy to install and add additional surface space.

Monochrome moment: Homeowners’ preferences for deck colors are becoming more minimalistic, opening up more opportunities for pops of color and texture elsewhere that can be easily updated with changing trends.

Privacy walls and shade structures: These features make the outdoor experience more comfortable, offering seclusion from neighbors and protection from the elements. Privacy walls commonly serve a dual purpose, incorporating entertainment centers and greenery.

Privacy screens are a stylish way to let homeowners enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about the neighbors or unwanted weather elements.

Heaters and fire features: Homeowners are challenging the seasonality of their outdoor spaces with heated elements, whether it be the sleek, discreet warmth of outdoor heaters or the eye-catching ambience of a central fireplace.

Fire bowls elevate deck aesthetics while extending seasonal use of decks.

Dock upgrades: Waterfront spaces are evolving to include upgraded elements that encourage gathering and connection.

Outdoor kitchens: Homeowners are treating the outdoor kitchen as a place for both cooking and camaraderie, showing increased interest in upgrades such as extended counter space and built-in appliances.

Designer/homeowner collaboration: Overall, homeowners are showing more interest in being involved in the outdoor design process, from start to finish.

To contextualize these trends and other outdoor living insights found in the 2024 report, the company offered additional commentary from its network of contractors.

Outdoor kitchens continue to appeal to homeowners who want to expand their available living footprint into the backyard.

Joe Hagen of All Decked Out in Ohio highlighted the importance of incorporating outdoor heaters in the Midwest.
“Electric heaters are very popular in our area,” Hagen says. “We recommend adding heaters to nearly any roof structure because you’re able to enjoy the space an extra three months out of the year. I think it’s worth it on every project.”

Catherine Lippincott of Premier Outdoor Living in New Jersey focused on a recent shift toward monochromatic decking palettes.

“We find that a lot of clients want to bring the project to life with more textures, mixed materials, and greenery instead of really bold color choices,” Lippincott says. “A lot of people are moving more towards neutrals for something that’s muted and not super loud.”

TimberTech’s Terrain+ composite deck boards made from recycled polymers and reclaimed wood fibers deliver a subtle grain pattern for a versatile, natural wood look.

Jason Varney of Dock & Deck in Tennessee talked growing interest in multi-functional spaces.

“Homeowners want their outdoor living spaces to be used in every application,” Varney says. “If they’re going to make that investment, they want to be able to cook there, to sit there after dinner and enjoy a fire, to be able to watch TV outside—they want to do everything. These days, there’s almost nothing that can’t be done outside.”

Jonathan Moeller of Colorado Custom Covers & Decks in Colorado emphasized the utility of adding spiral staircases to projects.

“Going with a spiral staircase really cuts down on a lot of the room that a regular staircase takes up, especially going down to the yard,” Moeller says.

Like many other remodelers around the U.S., Sean Collinsgru of Premier Outdoor Living in New Jersey is seeing a rise in requests for outdoor kitchens.

“Nearly everyone who contacts us recently has been requesting an outdoor kitchen in some capacity,” Collinsgru says. “And people are putting a lot more thought into those kitchen areas. On some projects, it feels like we’re designing an interior kitchen for our clients because they really dial into every appliance, every little detail.”

Leif Wirtanen of Cascade Fence & Deck in Washington sees a shift in color preferences for the decks they build in the Pacific Northwest.

“We used to be asked to do a lot of grays,” Wirtanen says. “That was a popular mix for a while. This year, we’re doing a lot more brown. We still do a lot of projects with a different colored accent board, but many customers are wanting the same color accent board as their field board for more of a minimalistic look.” QR

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