After a year of lockdowns, it’s hardly surprising we’ve been looking to enhance our outdoor living and entertaining areas.

According to a survey by home design platform Houzz.co.uk, 36% of renovating homeowners now plan to upgrade their gardens, inspired by the pandemic.

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“We’ve seen a spike in interest for outdoor projects, with enquiries rising by 116% in January, compared to the same period of 2020,” explains Houzz editor, Amanda Pollard. “Our gardens have provided sanctuary throughout the pandemic and as restrictions begin to lift, homeowners are searching for solutions that are beautiful and functional to maximise theirs.”

5 outdoor living trends

Here’s what’s piquing our interest…

1. The fifth room

Outdoor living outdoor living room featuring a trendy hanging chair, lounge furniture and open fireplace
An attractive outdoor living room featuring a trendy hanging chair, lounge furniture and open fireplace (Burbeck Interiors/PA)

Gardens have grown into another room, essentially, with spaces set up for cooking, dining, relaxing and socialising. Recent photos uploaded to Houzz feature cosy garden seating areas with unexpected furnishings. These include rugs, floor cushions and 2021’s hottest garden accessory, the hanging chair.

Comfortable garden sofas, layered cushions and heaters are also helping create spaces to enjoy throughout summer, and even into the cooler months.

Ella James egg chairs
Ella James egg chairs (Ella James/PA)

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, Ella James (ellajames.co.uk) have a lovely selection of egg chairs available to pre-order, from £395.

“We’re seeing a rise in clients who see their garden as an extension of their home and want it to reflect their interior style. Luckily, outdoor furniture design has come a long way in recent years, with more stylish options and better weatherproof fabrics available,” says Chris Harrington of Harrington Porter, a garden designer on Houzz. “The technology for outdoor speakers and heaters has also improved, so gardens can be used further into the evening.”

Best-selling garden egg chairs

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
ABTSICA Garden Terrace Rattan Swing Chair Wicker Egg Hanging Chair Hammock Hanging Chair Large Size...
  • [Advantages]:This swing suspension seat cushion is ergonomically designed to provide enough space for stretching. This is like a mini sofa, very suitable for reading, chatting or other things. This is...
  • [Features]:This hanging egg cushion pad has a windproof design on the side, with a backrest and a small pillow, soft, comfortable, durable and high-density cotton pad, comfortable, breathable,...
  • [Shape]:This egg hammock chair cushion has a cluster structure and is designed to be "just right", not too fluffy and not too flat
Bestseller No. 2
Rattan Hanging Egg Chair | Swing Seat Chair For Gardens, Patio, Decking With Cream Cushion | Single...
  • EGG SWING CHAIR - Comfortable and charming, this hanging hammock-style chair features and oval shape which allows you to sink into it. This swinging seat provides a relaxing moving effect and is ideal...
  • RATTAN EFFECT - The wiring which encases this chair is made up of a black or grey rattan material. Durable and easy on the eye, this framework adds a touch of class to the chair.
  • CALMING COLOURED CUSHION - Finishing off the single hanging chair seat is a soft and plush cream coloured cushion, while the double seat has a grey cushion. Each seat cushion provides ample support...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Dawsons Living Milan Hanging Egg Chair - Outdoor and Indoor Rattan Weave Swing Hammock - Hanging...
  • MAXIMUM COMFORT: The hanging egg chair is padded out with a moveable head and seating cushion, giving you perfect room to really lay back and relax in the swing chair. The hanging seating basket, when...
  • STYLISH DESIGN: The hanging hammock chair is not only designed with your comfort in mind, the clean design is right on chair making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. As a garden chair it is...
  • DURABILITY: The chair is sure to be long lasting. With the basket being made from UV proof Faux Rattan and the Powder Coated Steel frame. Giving you a chair, which is virtually weatherproof.

Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Pergolas

Outdoor living pergola in garden
A pretty pergola can be styled with solar lanterns and a timeless trestle table (Chris Snook/Houzz/PA)

It’s set to be the year of the pergola, with searches on Houzz dramatically increasing in popularity. “If you want to create an inviting outdoor living space, you’ll likely need shade to do it,” says Pollard. “A pergola is a relatively quick and affordable solution. These simple shade structures, which can be built and installed by a professional in a day or two, provide adequate shade for dining, lounging and other outdoor activities.”

As landscape designer Patricia Tyrrell, of Living Landscapes, points out: “From framing views to creating welcome shade and supporting climbing and twining plants, pergolas can play many roles in a garden. A vertical structure not only adds another dimension to your garden, but it can also act as a subtle screen, particularly if you’re overlooked by neighbouring properties. With simple wire trellis attached to the uprights, or overhead and some well-placed planting, you can create a private space away from the world.”

Best-selling garden pergolas

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
vidaXL Pergola with Adjustable Roof Outdoor Garden Lean-to Pergola Entranceway Carports Arches...
  • Roof colour: Cream white
  • Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 2,25 m (L x W x H)
  • Frame material: Powder-coated steel
Bestseller No. 2
Chamfered Wooden Garden Pergola Kit - Exclusive Pergola Range - Largest on Amazon (1.8m x 1.8m 4...
  • Take your backyard from ordinary to amazing using the Arbor Garden Solutions Pergola - Arbour. Adding a pergola to your lawn turns an overlooked space into a wonderful outdoor room, and this unit...
  • Its four, 4'' x 4" (finish 90mm x 90mm) legs support the top and stays rigid using of six 2" x 6" main beams, the natural wood color enhances your landscaping easily also available in brown finish...
  • The redwood posts are supplied at 2.7m long to give the customer the option to concrete them into the ground, finishing the structure at 2.3m high, or the posts can be cut down to 2.3m for it to be a...
SaleBestseller No. 3
vidaXL Impregnated Pinewood Garden Pergola Wooden Outdoor Lawn Climbing Plant Support Arch Trellis...
  • Colour: Grey
  • Material: Impregnated pinewood
  • Overall size: 200 x 40 x 205 cm (W x D x H)

Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Lighting

Outdoor living stylish garden entertaining area
This stylish garden entertaining area features built-in under-seat lighting, designed by Harrington Porter (Harrington Porter/PA)

With a focus on outdoor socialising, households are looking for ways to extend the use of their gardens into the evening too. “Lighting is key to creating a space that works equally as well in the evening, with searches for ‘garden lighting’ spiking in popularity,” says Pollard.

And the options are endless – from strings of solar-powered festoon lanterns to built-in ground-level spotlights and everything in-between. For permanent options needing mains powered electricity, make sure you find an electrician.

The pros on Houzz also advise considering the mood you want to achieve, with bright white a good option if you’re after a well-lit space, and warm white a better option if you’re hoping to create a soft glow. “Do consider wildlife when you’re planning your outdoor lighting,” adds Pollard. “Use it sparingly and only when you need it, and switch it all off when you head indoors.”

Best-selling garden lighting

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
Outdoor String Lights FOCHEA 31ft G40 Outdoor Garden Globe String Lights Festoon Lighting for Indoor...
  • 【outdoor string light with 25 pieces bulbs】This fairy light consists of 25 high-quality waterproof bulbs with a total length of 31ft, 0.98ft distance between two bulbs. It can create a cozy and...
  • 【Safe and Waterproof】Built in internal fuse which increase safety when using. Each bulb has a power of only 7W, safe, low power consumption, high brightness, low heat and environmental protection....
  • 【End to End Connector】 Each chain of 25 bulbs has an end-to-end connection,allowing you to connect up to 3 strands to cover a large area to meet your individual needs
Bestseller No. 2
Solar String Lights Garden, 24 Ft 30 Crystal Balls Waterproof LED Fairy Lights, 8 Modes Outdoor...
  • 【Solar Powered String Lights】LED solar string lights use high efficiency solar panels, which can convert solar energy into electric energy and storage in the built-in battery let the lights lit...
  • 【High Quality and Conversion Rates】Our solar lights are made of mono crystalline silicon solar cells, and its photoelectric conversion efficiency is about 19%, the highest is 24%, The highest...
  • 【8 Lights Modes】Gorgeous lighting modes including combination, fireflies flashing, waves, fading, chasing/flashing, fading slowly, twinkle/flashing and steady on, which can create different...
SaleBestseller No. 3
[50 LED] Solar Garden Lights, Honey Bee Fairy String Lights,7M/24Ft 8 Mode Waterproof...
  • [50 Super Warm LED Lights]: Solar powered string lights with 24ft length of light , enough length to fit any indoor and outdoor space, and energy saving to reduce cost, an Ideal decoration for your...
  • [8 Lighting Modes & Memory Function]: Charging in the sunlight automatically, with 8 mode functions to switch, change from combination, waving, fireflies flashing, fading, chasing/flashing, slowly...
  • [Automatic On/Off and Easy to Shape]: There are only two switch to control the light, with Intelligent Sensing, auto on when dark and auto off in the daytime. The cable is flexible, 24 feet copper...

Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Multifunctional gardens

Gardens now have many jobs, from places to work or exercise and spots to eat, relax and socialise with friends. With so many activities now taking place, professionals on Houzz say their clients are more frequently requesting gardens with clear zoning.

Outdoor living pop-up bubble tent
Alvantor Pop-Up PVC Bubble Tent, Cuckooland (Cuckooland/PA)

Worried about summer socials becoming a washout if it rains? Alvantor’s Pop-Up PVC Bubble Tent has an entrance door that can be rolled up to let the fresh air in but keep raindrops out.

Best-selling Alvantor bubble tent

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
Alvantor Bubble Tent Pop Up Gazebo, 8-10 Person Igloo Dome Garden Patio Canopy Shelter, Large...
  • 【NEW GAZEBO INSPIRE】: The main body of Alvantor Bubble Tent is made of sturdy super transparent PVC that allows 360° clear view. The double side silicone zippers are extra smooth and durable,...
  • 【EASY SET & DOWN】: Pop up in a second, no tools needed. Detachable support poles on the top to prevent collapsing in rainy/windy. Innovated special folding method to fold the whole gazebo into a...
  • 【ROOMY & COMFORTABLE】: Fits 8-10 Person. Size: 3.6x3.6x2.4H (m), 21.7kg. Alvantor pop up gazebo with sides provides spacious warm room for whole family to enjoy dining, picnic, event planning,...
Bestseller No. 2
Alvantor Screen House Gazebo, 4-6 Person Pop Up Igloo Dome Screened Canopy Shelter Tent with...
  • 【BREATHING GAZEBO】: The main body of Alvantor Screen House is made of breathable 250D polyester fabric mesh panels that allow 360° full-ventilation and provide All-Day UPF 50+ UV protection in...
  • 【QUICK SET & DOWN】: Pop up in a second, no tools needed. Creative fiberglass ribs can be opened automatically. Innovated special folding method to fold the whole screened canopy tent into a...
  • 【ROOMY & COMFORTABLE】: Fits 8-10 Person. Size: 3.6x3.6x2.3H (m), 9kg. Alvantor garden gazebo with netting sides provides spacious comfortable room for any outdoor furniture sets & BBQ grills for...

Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking to break it up into different areas, try adding interesting contrasts by using different materials for each section, or varying the planting. Screens are another popular tool to add privacy, creating more secluded spots, perfect for dining.

Purpose-built garden rooms are also becoming more popular. For many, more flexibility in working from home means finding longer-term solutions to carve out dedicated workspaces, so garden rooms are a great option for this. They typically don’t require planning permission, however, it’s always advisable to check.

“Make sure you know where you stand in relation to planning permission,” says Martin Lawson, of Swift Garden Rooms. “The majority of projects are possible without a full planning application, but there are many exceptions. When you’re making a significant investment, you owe it to yourself not to risk a knock on the door from a planning enforcement officer.”

Outdoor living garden room
Contemporary and stylish, a garden BBQ room designed by BOWA Garden Rooms (BOWA/PA)

An ode to joy, Nick Taylor of BOWA, a garden rooms specialist on Houzz, says they’re seeing a lot of enquiries from people wanting to create a space for entertaining: “Some are interested in the idea of BBQ rooms, or simply places to hang out and enjoy the garden from.”

They’ve also received enquiries from people needing office space, but often the brief will be to accommodate a mixed use, with gyms that feature a small workstation, or full offices with space for an exercise bike and weights. “It feels like we’re only starting to wake up to the potential in our gardens for improving our day-to-day life,” says Taylor.

5. Greenery

Outdoor living greenery in garden
A lush lawn is a blank canvas for creativity and enjoyment (Maike Wagner/Houzz/PA)

Garden designers say their clients are moving towards more green planting schemes, with big leafy plants, ferns, palms and grasses popular on recent projects. Along with adding drama, using them in strategic points provides much-needed privacy, especially in an urban garden. Leaves usually last longer than blooms, meaning planting will look good for months or even, with the right choices, all year.

However, you still need to care for them. “These plants may look low-maintenance but they’ll need some upkeep,” says Harrington.  “Look for banana trees, hardy palms and grasses, which all work well in the British Isles.”

Vertical planters
Elho vertical forest planters (Elho/PA)

Elho (elho.com/en) offer a wide selection of vertical forest planters in various sizes and colours, from £17.99 for a Corsica Vertical Forest 24cm Set of 3.

Planters and pots are a great option for smaller spaces. Try opting for various heights, sizes and styles to add interest to patio areas – and watch your mini garden grow.

Best-selling vertical planters

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
Wisolt New Upgraded Deeper and Bigger 6 Pocket Hanging Vertical Garden Wall Planter For Yard Garden...
  • Material: Felt Cloth, 6 Pocket Wall Hanging Planter Balcony Garden Vertical Flower vegetables Herbs Grow Bag.
  • Features: rugged, self-absorbing, corrosion-resistant, breathable,Wall-mounted, save space for planting.
  • Application Scene: Balcony Garden / Home Decor / Supermarket Wall / Cafe Decor / Garden Nursery.
Bestseller No. 2
Stand Stacking Planters Strawberry Planting Pots, Stackable Herb, Garden Planter Set, Strawberry and...
  • ?TIER VERTICAL PLANTER: Set of 4 (3 plant pots and 1 saucer)each pot has 3 rooms for planting, adequate growing space supplied. You can grow vegetable, strawberry, flowers, greens, herbs, vegetables...
  • ?STACKABLE FLOWER POT: Each pot comes with slots, you can stack them up to build up a flower tower! It's a cool decoration outside your house like door gate, porch, balcony, lawn, patio and so more....
  • ?WATERING SYSTEM: Watering the top pot will benefit the tiers below. moisture flow through vertically and slowly so you don't need to worry about over watering or dreaded root rot
SaleBestseller No. 3
Hanging Planter Bags, Scoolr 2pcs 7 Pocket Hanging Vertical Wall Planter Planting Grow Bags for...
212 Reviews
Hanging Planter Bags, Scoolr 2pcs 7 Pocket Hanging Vertical Wall Planter Planting Grow Bags for...
  • THE PLANTING BAGS -- Planting, a unique decoration with feature of space saving, which is applicable for being as mural to decorate rooms to make your house become garden. It can also be used as...
  • DURABLE MATERIAL -- Made of felt cloth. Holds moisture good and allows drainage and can breathe. Resistant, Eco Friendly and Non Toxic. The metal eyelets make hanging your vertical garden planter...
  • USE WIDELY -- Create dazzling displays of all types of herbs and annuals such as Begonias, Primulas, Pansies, Geraniums, Carnations and many more. Applications for Greening project, office, household...

Last update on 2021-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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