Voyage Sedona

6 Outdoor Living Trends to Follow in 2023

Leading industry experts take inspiration from nature and interior design.

When it comes to making the most out of your outdoor spaces, leading industry experts recognize that homeowners are looking for more style, function, and flexibility than ever before. Increasing trends in bolder design choices show that there is a demand for unique features which authentically reflects homeowners’ personality and lifestyle. By blurring the line between indoors and out, the outdoor space has become an extension of the home.

The key to making any design decision authentic and timeless is to have an open and honest conversation about how the space is going to be used and incorporating elements that make sense for how the household needs to function and feel. Always consider the style of the home and its climate. An outdoor space should feel like it belongs to the home it’s attached to, which might mean the addition of contemporary design accents or incorporating new trends in ways that still feel traditional. Additionally, thinking about the environment surrounding the outdoor space will help create a more holistic look that feels like it’s always been there.

Taking inspiration from both the natural world and interior design, these are the outdoor living trends on the rise for 2023.

A Down-to-Earth Color Palette

Complementing the rising popularity of soothing, mossy and sage greens, a warm array of clay tones and terracotta creates an outdoor oasis inspired by its surroundings. A leading expert in outdoor living and composite decking, Deckorators is constantly inspired by nature. When assessing the needs of contractors and their clients, think about how the product is going to interact with its environment. A deck should feel like an extension of both the home and the outdoors. Last year, Deckorators introduced the color Sedona to its Voyage line of mineral-based composite decking. Sedona is a warm earth tone, inspired by desert landscape and the red-rock buttes of Sedona, Arizona.

Breaking Design Rules

Shifting away from a monochromatic approach to decorating, homeowners are opting to mix gray and brown materials. Gray has been the leading neutral in recent years, however more designers and homeowners are warming up the shade’s innate coolness with a balance of warm browns and tans. The unexpected mix shows confidence and reflects the overarching trend of homeowners taking style risks that stand out. Incorporating a mix of natural wood tones and stone makes the mix feel natural and organic. COOKE contemporary furniture offers their Balboa Fire Pit featuring a natural stone top which ties together multiple design elements to create a cohesive, organic space. Playing off the cool gray tones and warm browns and the stone, gives you leverage to incorporate a mixture of materials and tones throughout the outdoor space.

Bold Accents

Further exemplifying a newfound confidence in style and color choices is an increased gravitation towards bold, charcoal accents. This can be seen in dramatic charcoal trim on doors, windows, and even decks with the addition of a picture frame deck board in Dark Slate from Deckorators. Another option to incorporate dramatic, charcoal accents is through lighting. Carson Pendants from Hinkley Lighting are also a good choice to make a statement and add ambiance to any outdoor space. Embrace contrast by also incorporating crisp white outdoor upholstery or even contrasting step treads.

Resort Living

Homeowners are making the most out of their time outdoors, as seen in the continued increase of pools and spas. Adding water features to your yard or deck is easily one of the most impactful ways to create a no-passport-required, immersive escape. Grand Effects, a Utah-based specialist in fire and water elements, offers innovative products like free-standing stainless steel waterfalls that seamlessly blend the lines between your deck and water feature. Keeping in mind durability around water, composite decking that is guaranteed for use in contact with water. Even on smaller scale projects, you don’t need a lot of square footage to make a dramatic impact with the addition of an expertly integrated spa or water feature.

Lifestyle Features

In addition to pools and spas, more homeowners are adding personalized features that, as they spend more time outdoors, reflect how they use their space. From top-of-the-line grilling stations to wet bars and pickleball courts, homeowners are personalizing their spaces with function and style. To take a space from day to night, integrating an outdoor fireplace like this 48” see-through linear fireplace by Empire creates the perfect gathering space for after dinner entertaining. Of course, for any outdoor feature durability should be top of mind. Look for materials that are made to withstand exposure to elements. Composite decking can also be used for countertops and tables, for a custom and contemporary finish add a waterfall edge.

Small but Upscale

A beautiful backyard featuring a tiny pool by Soake Pools. Photograph by Mike Crane.

Not everyone has a large swath of land on which to place a huge, resort-style pool, and in tight urban and suburban locales this is especially true. But even homeowners who have some square footage tospare enjoy that they can get the best of both worlds with a smaller pool: A beautiful place to cool off and enjoy the water without sacrificing their entire yard. Small pools are making a comeback, as homeowners are increasingly appreciative of the economic, ecological, and aesthetic benefits of smaller vessels.

“We don’t believe that pools need to be the size of Texas to achieve all the things that a bigger pool does,” says Amy Hageman, owner and founder of Austin-based Texas Tiny Pools. “You’re not sacrificing something by going smaller.”

A small pool isn’t a style downgrade. In fact, some homeowners are better able to flex their design muscles with a smaller pool and work with a luxury boutique builder on a custom project.

Karen Larson, president and co-founder of Soake Pools in New Hampshire, says that clients choose their small, pre-cast plunge pools (How small? Their most popular size is 7’x13’), for many reasons, but one of them is because of how beautiful they are.

Soake Pools have hand-tiled interior finishes of from earthy, large-format porcelain, as well as a new, high-end mosaic line. One client crafted freestanding stone walls from local fieldstone around their plunge pool for a “a simple, organic and beautifully executed design.” Another surrounded theirs with bamboo for a Zen, yoga-type feeling.

“They end up with a really beautiful luxury product,” Larson says.

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