With the rise of friluftsliv—aka spending more time outdoors—driven by an urgent desire to see the world beyond your four walls, it’s no wonder that backyards are the top area of the home people plan to upgrade this year, according to a Cinch Home Services survey. It’s also one of the top areas where people have experienced DIY fails, which makes it all too fitting that when we researched backyard trends and spoke to experts across the field, most of the outdoor upgrades that came up required very little elbow grease. Yet they still lead to the kind of yard you’ll want to spend every second of summer in—even the 95-degree days.
1. Tropical Resort-Inspired Furniture
The rise of rattan furniture was only compounded by the pandemic, which left many of us dreaming of the vacations we weren’t having…and inspired us to create those getaways at home. Even as things reopen, there’s still a desire to create an oasis at home, says designer and HomeGoods style expert David Quarles IV. Think fern and banana leaf prints on outdoor throw pillows and hammocks or swing chairs in place of the traditional outdoor lounger.
Our Pick: Embroidered Leaf Pillow
2. Oversize Outdoor Games
Walk into any big box store right now, and you’ll notice a big trend, literally: supersized games. Whether you love Jenga, Connect Four, dice or darts, there’s a good chance there’s a three-foot-tall version waiting for you on an end cap display. It’s an easy way to make a statement in the yard—provided that statement is, come cookout season, we’re here to paaaaarty!
Our Pick: Jumbo Connect 4 Game Set
3. Getaway Gardens
At the start of the pandemic, people eased into the idea of gardening with container gardens. Then, they avoided extra trips to the grocery store by creating victory gardens (aka edible gardens). Some thought this interest would be fleeting, but the folks at Troy-Bilt and Erin Schanen, the blogger behind The Impatient Gardener, both confirmed that interest in gardening is, well, blooming. Emboldened by those early wins, many people are starting to branch out to create their own ornamental gardens, Schanen says. Pinterest data backs this up, too: Social space gardens, staycation gardens and rustic retreat gardens all generated thousands of pins, taking up three of DIYs.com’s top ten gardening trends of 2021.
Our Pick: Butterfly Garden Grow Kit
4. Pizza Ovens
Those live-like-you’re-on-vacation vibes don’t stop with your outdoor furniture. Schanen’s seen a huge increase in interest in building outdoor pizza ovens. Searches for pizza ovens in general are up 80 percent over the past month, and thankfully, adding one to your home doesn’t have to be a four-figure investment. Companies like Ooni sell portable outdoor pizza ovens for less than $400.
Our Pick: Ooni Karu 12 Pizza Oven
5. Granny Pods
She Sheds and Zen Dens haven’t gone away; they’ve just evolved. “Granny pods” are the new (and equally cringey) buzzword, and Pinterest searches for ‘em are up 159 percent this year, according to MyMove.com. Simply put, it’s a detached room for a guest to stay in (say, visiting grandparents), giving them a space of their own to sleep in at night, rather than your kids’ PJ Masks-covered twin bed.
While you can order an entire studio cabin right off of Amazon, you may want to call in a pro to help you install it, if you’re not the handy type. It’s a little more complicated than, say, building that IKEA Hemnes dresser.
Our Pick: Allwood Solvalla Studio Cabin
6. Retro Metal Coolers
Another trend Quarles has noticed? A sudden resurgence of retro metal coolers, all in fun, popsicle-esque colors. Beyond being functional, these bright containers add a modern touch to the patio area, and they can double as a side table.
Our Pick: Permasteel 80-Quart Rolling Patio Cooler
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