Many of us are realizing how much we need more quality outdoor living space after being home so much in 2020. When the walls of our homes start to close in, it can make a big difference for everyone’s sanity if there is a welcoming, comfortable place to escape outside for a while. Being outside boost our mood, helps to calm anxiety, and helps us be healthier, more well-adjusted people.
As we look toward 2021 and see the trends in outdoor spaces, we can expect outdoor living rooms, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor gathering places to be more popular than ever in suburban and rural homes.
Also, with swimming pools becoming one of the most desirable outdoor backyard amenities, people will need decks to go around them, whether they have an in-ground or above-ground pool.
Our top predictions for deck trends for 2021
As we look forward, here is the direction we anticipate for the world of decks.
People will want…
People want space outside to gather with friends and family where they can socially distance and not worry about germs. They also want more room so they don’t feel so claustrophobic inside the house if they are working from home.
Decks are becoming more than just a place to sit or have a grill and a small table. They are becoming outdoor living spaces. Outdoor dining rooms, outdoor living rooms, and even outdoor kitchens are all going to be very popular as we move into 2021.
If you have a basement in the back of your house, you may be able to have a deck on the main living level of your home with a patio under the deck at the basement level. Of course, if you want to have a waterproof ceiling for the patio on the bottom, you’ll need to install special metal panels and a gutter system under the deck flooring at the top or take other precautions so rain doesn’t come pouring down below.
Some ways to use a double deck:
- Multi-generational living
- Outdoor quarantine space for a basement apartment
- More space for adults to enjoy one area with their friends and kids to be with their friends below.
- A playground on the bottom floor
- Porch swings or hammock swings on bottom
- An outdoor kitchen on the bottom
Another trend will be decks that have multiple platforms for different functions. Maybe the grill is in one area, an eating area on another, and a seating area on another level. Multiple levels add interest and style to your deck, while also providing extra space for larger gatherings. Or you can have more space for social distancing.
Why not have a deck that also functions as a playground? If you have a tall deck with a full story below, you could have a large rock wall for kids to climb up to the deck level and a big plastic slide for them to slide down.
If you have 8-10 feet of height with your deck, you could use one of the outside deck framing posts as a leg of a sturdy custom-built swing set.
The kids will enjoy hours of exercise and you can be close by to monitor their safety while you chat with friends, grill, or sit and drink a cold glass of sweet tea.
Useable space under the deck
Why not use all that extra space under the deck for something amazingly creative? Even if you don’t have a full story under your deck, all you need is 4-6 feet of clearance for some of these options.
Kids love sandboxes. They could enjoy a large custom sandbox under the entire length and width of the deck to play in. It’s a cooler spot and already shaded in the summertime.
With young children, you may be able to hang a tire swing, spider web swing, or regular swing under the floor of your deck. Some mulch, concrete, rubber playground flooring, or artificial turf can provide a great surface for the kids. They’ll be out of the sun and close to the house. If you waterproof your deck, they can even swing when it’s raining outside.
If you have 5-6 feet of clearance, a custom-built playhouse under your deck can be a magical place for your children to play. Whether it is something simple with walls and some open windows and an open doorway, or you go all out with real windows and a real door, your kids will love having their own place to hide and play with siblings and friends.
If your deck is 3-6 feet off the ground, you may be able to use a wire mesh and a locking door to create a large outdoor dog enclosure. Your dog will have shade and be safe from harm, not to mention, you can keep an eye on your furry friend easily from there.
Catios are extremely popular and we expect that trend to continue. A catio is essentially a kennel for a cat outside. It may have scratching posts and climbing trees or structures. It’s a way for an indoor cat to be able to enjoy being outdoors without danger. You could even put a cat door in your home leading directly to the catio so your cat can choose when she wants to be outside or inside.
If the space too tight to walk under, you may still be able to have a beautiful garden if you choose plants that love the shade. Under deck landscaping adds beauty and value to your yard and can be a source of relaxation and inspiration. You may even want to have a water feature or stones to make the garden something spectacular.
This is an area that is often overlooked but it has tremendous potential for storage. Whether you want to build a shed or a pen to put your yard equipment in, you already have a roof and columns. It doesn’t take much to add walls and a door or some type of lattice or screen.
We do offer a caution with storing lawnmowers under a deck. We are aware of lawnmower fires happening under people’s decks resulting in house fires.
But this area is ideal for storing lumber, bikes, tools, lawn furniture, outdoor toys, sports equipment, cushions, pool covers, and many other items—especially if it is made to be waterproof.
Other under-deck storage ideas:
- Deck drawers—large drawers that are waterproof and fit flush with the deck skirting.
- Under-deck custom shed
- In-deck storage – deck flooring can open like a hatch door and have a built-in wooden storage box underneath the floor for cushions, toys, and other deck accessories.
Having shade on your deck makes it possible to use even when the sun is out and it is a warmer day. Even better, having some kind of roof on your deck to protect you from the rain makes your deck an all-season experience! People will want to make the most of their decks and use them all year round.
Popular covered deck ideas for shade in 2021
- Awning for decks/deck canopy
- Sun sails
- Pergola on the deck
Popular covered deck ideas for rain protection in 2021
- Pavilions on decks
- Deck gazebos
- Deck roofs (extending the roofline of the house over the deck)
New deck design ideas
People will want something personalized that lets them really express their personality as hosts. Some of the trends we expect to be popular include:
Unique deck shapes and plans
Deck builders are doing innovative designs now. They can build around existing trees, create dramatic curves, circles, octagons, or multiple levels. And many homeowners will prefer sleek lines that look modern and up-to-date.
Deck privacy walls will be more important now that so many people are home all the time and most people would rather not have neighbors looking at them while they are enjoying relaxing outside. Plus the neighbors may appreciate the privacy, as well. Good fences make good neighbors, after all.
Deck fire pits
We expect fire pits to surge in popularity for decks and backyards as families are home so much and are looking for fun activities to do together to get out of the house. Many people like to make s’mores or roast hotdogs over the fire. There is nothing better than sitting around a fire with loved ones or friends on a chilly evening while sipping on a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
If you want to have a fire pit on your deck, rather than on a patio, you’ll want a version that is not too heavy for your decking boards and you’ll want to keep sparks away from a wooden deck. Or you could design a sunken area for your fire pit with gravel around it for safety and use your deck or deck stairs for seating.
More durable materials
Homeowners want natural wood and brown tones for 2021 for their deck colors. But more important than the color, people want something that will last and not be much trouble for maintenance.
For deck flooring, we expect people to choose pressure-treated wood, cedar decking, or composite decking, primarily. Composite decking will be especially popular as it has low maintenance and can last for years without any worry about rotting. Fiberon decking and text decking are two of the most popular brands of composite deck boards, but there are also organic options and other products for consumers to check out, as well.
We expect people to either make use of the space under their decks in 2021 or to make the deck skirting shine this year. Lattice panels are always popular because they cover the area but also allow for plenty of ventilation, which is important.
Deck skirting doesn’t just look fancy, it also keeps unwanted animals from going under your deck, like neighborhood cats, dogs, possums, and raccoons. Don’t forget to include an access door in case you need to be able to get to things under the deck.
Other options we expect to be popular besides deck lattice will be:
- Wood boards or wood slats
- Composite decking boards
- Siding that matches the house
- Craftsman wood skirting boards
- Stone or stone veneer
This is a type of paint used at many commercial water parks that keeps wooden decks or concrete surfaces from absorbing too much sunlight. The paint keeps the decking or concrete surfaces much cooler than normal and allows people to walk barefoot on it without burning the bottoms of their feet. This is something we expect to see used a lot more widely in 2021.
Do you need help sprucing up your deck in the Greater Columbia, SC area?
At Punch List Pros, we can help with things like deck repair, deck sealing, installing shade sails, attaching deck rail planters, installing deck lighting, or even putting together a pavilion kit. We can also help you with most of the under-the-deck projects mentioned above. In fact, we can help with most of your decking and carpentry needs. See our service page for more details.
We’d love to help you create the deck of your dreams for 2021.