The popularity of outdoor living spaces that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve and lead the way for design trends in 2022, according to experts.
LM spoke with three design professionals to find out what other trends they’re seeing make their way to
Fine outdoor living
Phil Kelly, chief operating officer of McHale Landscape in Upper Marlboro, Md., says outdoor kitchens have become increasingly more prominent, with seemingly endless options.
Kelly notes improved cabinetry as one of the more recent upgrades in the outdoor kitchen space. “There are more and more people fabricating indoor quality cabinets that can hold up outside,” he says. “It’s evolving with how elaborate they’re getting and how many options there are on the market.”
Kelly says fire features have also continued to grow in popularity, and as a result, the number of options has skyrocketed.
“The number of fire pits and fire tables that are prefabricated (has grown significantly),” he says.
“They’re functional, and you can get them in so many different styles, from super contemporary to very traditional.”
A new way to pool
For Local Roots Landscaping in Pittsburgh, pool installation has been a trending part of its business. Specifically, Managing Partner Kenneth Deemer says clients request plunge pools.
“You have so many people that have a gigantic 60-by-30 pool in their backyard that they get in and just sit there and talk,” he says. “It’s changing people’s minds and trying to get them to reconsider what they use their pool for.”
Local Roots serves primarily residential design/build and maintenance clients in southwestern Pennsylvania.
According to Deemer, Local Roots partnered with Soake Pools, a company specializing in space-saving plunge pools. The aim of the plunge pool is to recreate something similar to a Roman bath with a static depth and custom, elegant tile, Deemer says.
“They can be installed flush or out of the ground a little bit,” he says. “They’re super great for the Northeast because we have grade changes all over the place out here.”
Sustainability on the rise
Clients also demand sustainable solutions, according to Deemer and Kelly.
“People want to have bees in their yard instead of getting them out,” he says. “They see the benefit and the value of it. Both in plantings and stormwater management, we’ve seen a huge shift toward sustainability.”
Sustainable vegetable gardens and planters are some ways that sustainability has made its way into the landscape design world.
“We’re seeing a lot of (vegetable) gardens,” Kelly says. “It’s being taken more from a hobby or someone’s passion to more of the client wanting it to be sustainable and to use it for their family. Green is in, and sustainability is in.”
Rain gardens and stormwater management also tie into the sustainability push, which Kelly points out as trends he’s seen. According to Kelly, McHale Landscape has installed more cisterns on properties to trap water for irrigating plants.
Jerry McKay, owner of McKay Landscape Lighting in Omaha, Neb., says customers for his mostly residential business have begun to demand more modern light fixtures.
“That’s probably the most interesting trend we’ve seen (in lighting),” he says. “For the last 30 years, we’ve done a lot of brass and silver. Now people are demanding that the finish be dark to match up to the house. That goes along with the modern stuff.”
According to McKay, the modern light fixtures are sleek, angled and usually dark in color — either black or a darkened version of the traditional silver and brass. Despite the rise of modern fixtures, McKay says other types of fixtures, specifically bistro lighting, aren’t going away.
“Not a lot has gone by the wayside. On normal residential projects, we’re still doing uplighting, downlighting and path lighting,” he says. “Café and bistro lighting seem to have some longevity. That’s started to grow into residential projects.”