Experts weigh in on this year's top design trends in outdoor spaces

Experts weigh in on this year's top design trends in outdoor spaces


Experts weigh in on this year's top design trends in outdoor spaces

The stars of HGTV’s Decked Out, Paul Lafrance and Kate Campbell, reveal the season's hottest design trends in patios, backyards, balconies and porches.

When summer finally rolls around, we all try to spend as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying the sizzling hot days and lazy, balmy nights. So, naturally, a delightful outdoor space is a requirement.
We checked in with the stars of HGTV’s Decked Out, Paul Lafrance and Kate Campbell, to find out all about the design trends in outdoor living and to get their expert advice on creating a fabulous al fresco space.

What are this year’s biggest outdoor living trends?

According to Kate, the biggest trend of the season is to bring the indoors outside in every way. “One of the biggest and newest ways to do this is incorporating an outdoor kitchen into your space,” she suggests. “With new products like Trex Outdoor cabinetry by Naturekast, you can create a beautiful outdoor kitchen that replicates, if not outshines, your indoor kitchen!”

According to Paul, glass is the big trend. “The evolution of glass railing is really starting to get people’s attention,” he says. “In years past, the appeal of tempered glass over the standard picket rail was that it provided a much clearer view, however, you would still have top and bottom rails as well as posts.”


What outdoor living trend needs to go buh-bye?

“I’m definitely biased but I really think outdoor spaces are made for enjoying the outdoors without distraction from technology,” says Kate.  We’re so connected to screens (TV, cell phone, iPads) on a daily basis, that I really think we need to allow ourselves to step away from them when we’re trying to relax outdoors. I believe things like outdoor TVs distract us from really enjoying being outside and in the moment.” Paul agrees. “I’m passionate about creating outdoor living spaces that take people away from the screens of the world, which nowadays are everywhere. I want to create outdoor conversation rooms where people can rediscover the lost art of communication,” he says.


How do you create a welcoming outdoor space for entertaining?

Paul says that it’s important to plan at least one comfortable seating area with low-voltage lighting. “If possible, make sure there’s room for several people to relax and engage in outdoor conversation. I like to include fire and water in a lot of my designs because I find this adds a lot to the ambiance and helps people to relax, let go of the daily grind, and enjoy one another’s company,” he says. Kate agrees that good lighting (and music!) are entertaining musts but also suggests creating zones for guests to enjoy. “You can create zones in your space such as a lounging zone, a kitchen/BBQ zone or a dining zone,” she says. “And incorporate different textures into your space that soften it.”


What are some common outdoor decorating mistakes, and how do you avoid them?

“One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating their outdoor space is going with a pressure treated wood decking,” says Kate. “While composite decking costs more than wood upfront, it won't warp, fade, crack or splinter over time, and doesn’t require the annual painting, sanding or sealing that wood decking needs.”

Paul says that one of the most common mistakes he runs into is that people will often not spend the time or want to invest the money in getting a well-thought out design. “It is well worth the time and the expense of having your space professionally designed,” he says. “An intuitive designer will listen to your individual needs and tastes and plan out a space that will get the most use and will be inspiring enough to drag you away from your television or the never-ending list of emails waiting for you on your computer. Remember, a carefully designed ten-by-ten space can be more inviting and enjoyed than a massive, boring square box!”


What are the dos and don'ts for decorating a beautiful outdoor space?

Don’t let someone else tell you how the space should function.  Think about what is best for you and work from there.

Do use low-maintenance decking and finishes such as Trex composite decking and not products that are going to require constant cleaning, sanding, and staining. That just takes the joy out of your new backyard sanctuary!

Don’t try to cram too many things into a small space.  Sometimes less is more.

Do make sure you enlist the help of a designer to plan out your outdoor haven and don’t just try to wing it or build a basic, boring platform.

Don’t overthink it.  A couple of pillows and a strategically placed rug can go a long way.

Do use fire and water features if possible. Incorporating these elements to your space will add a ton of ambiance and draw!

Don’t let upfront costs sway you away from low maintenance materials.

Do take time to consider what colours will suit you and your family and coordinate finishing touches like privacy curtains, seat cushions, and even the flowers in your planters. You want the overall feeling of your space to be inviting and harmonized. You don’t want to just collect random decorations and furnishings for your backyard space like it’s an afterthought.

Don’t put the BBQ too far away from the main lounging area! People congregate around a BBQ like they congregate in the kitchen. 

Do plan to attend a home and garden show in your area if you can. You will find lots of new, inspiring ideas that will make planning your outdoor retreat that much more enjoyable. Don’t make your decisions based on trends. Trends, by definition, change. Protect your uniqueness and be diligent about expressing your and your family’s personality and needs when you decorate, because those things are timeless!


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Experts weigh in on this year's top design trends in outdoor spaces