Outdoor Living Trends 2022

We reveal the results of a survey to 40 top experts in the home design field who share what they believe will be the biggest outdoor living trends in 2022.

Adam Graham
May 19, 2022
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11 min read

2022 outdoor living trends report cover

Spring is here, summer is around the corner, and many homeowners are beginning to think about how best to make the most of their outdoor living spaces. After the previous two summers have driven home the need for a versatile and welcoming outdoor space, many people have begun to view them differently. Today’s backyards aren’t just grassy areas for the kids to play in; they’re filled with amenities and luxuries that can transform it into your own personal oasis.

Outdoor living areas are now being used for cooking, dining, and entertainment on a scale that hasn’t been seen before. This is leading more people to change up their spaces and work to create an area that will meet all of their needs, as diverse and multi-functional as needed. 

To help you in this endeavor, we have surveyed 40 top experts in the home design field to find out what the latest trends in outdoor living are for the summer of 2022. Read on to get inspiration and ideas that will help you make the most of your outdoor living space this year.

Main Findings: 

  • 87% of experts say the pandemic is still influencing people’s investment decisions. 
  • Creating year-round usable spaces remains a top priority.
  • 56% believe that creating indoor spaces outside is a top trend for homeowners.
  • Comfortable outdoor furniture is the top outdoor living feature, 69% of experts say. 
  • 56% agree that saltwater pools are the biggest pool trend.

87% Say Pandemic Is Still Influencing Homeowners

Two bar graphs comparing 2022 and 2021 experts’ opinion on if the pandemic influenced homeowners’ outdoor living investments

According to 87% of experts, the pandemic is still influencing homeowners and how they are using, and investing in, their homes and outdoor living spaces.

For two summers straight, many people chose to stay home more often than they had in the past. This made creating a more engaging and relaxing outdoor atmosphere a priority for many people.

And while many areas are more open this year, people are not quick to forget the pandemic. Many families may also be choosing to stay at home this summer and invest in their homes again instead. Last year, 85% of experts felt that people would be investing more in their outdoor living spaces, and that trend is still holding. Because creating an outdoor living environment is something you can enjoy for years to come, as well as something that can increase the value of your property, people who may be putting off other large expenditures may still want to invest in this area.

Year-Round Use Is Top Priority for Outdoor Living in 2022

Bar graphs showing the biggest priorities for homeowners' outdoor living spaces in 2022

62% of experts believe that the biggest priority for homeowners when it comes to outdoor living spaces in 2022 is creating a space for year-round use.

This means making spaces such as patios, gazebos, pavilions, and outdoor kitchens that can be used no matter what the temperature or time of year. For those in warm climates, these spaces may not change much, but for those in colder climates, making the space usable all year long means incorporating things like firepits, space heaters, outdoor fireplaces, adequate lighting, covers to help keep the elements out, or even creating four season spaces. By incorporating these kinds of features, it increases the usage of the space, and gives you a place to entertain all year long. For many people, investing in an outdoor living area may not be worth it if it can only be used for short stretches, so investing in the added elements needed to make it more comfortable to use in the colder months of the year can help justify the initial expense.

56% of experts say that creating an indoor space outside is also a popular trend. This ties in well with the previous trend of creating a space you can use year-round; by creating a usable outdoor living space, you are adding more usable square footage. If your family is spending more time at home, having an outdoor living space - or an indoor space recreated outside like an outdoor living room - can give you more space to spread out and vary your surroundings at any time of year.

33% of experts also agree that creating a calming outdoor environment is important as well. It could be that people are looking at their exterior living spaces as a way to escape and relax after the turbulence and uncertainty of the last few years.

Finally, some experts also feel that sustainability is going to be important to homeowners as well. With climate change also a growing concern right now, sustainability is also something that many people may be considering as they invest in their homes.

62% of Experts Say Dining Area Is a Must-Have Outdoor Space

Outdoor dining as the most popular must-have for outdoor living spaces in 2022 closely followed by outdoor kitchen and living room

Outdoor dining is one of the most popular ways to use an exterior space. Dining is more than just about food; it’s also a way to gather with others or to relax and enjoy yourself. Dining outdoors gives you a new perspective from your normal indoor routine. And outdoor dining areas can also be used for more than just eating; tables and seating areas can be used for work, studying, or meeting with friends.

Outdoor kitchens also tie in with the outdoor dining trend. These spaces were very popular in 2021. They remain popular this year as well: 41% of experts say outdoor kitchens will be the biggest trend. An outdoor kitchen and dining area means you can cook, eat, and entertain all in one area.

Outdoor living rooms are the must-have feature this year, according to 39% of experts. Outdoor living areas give you a space to entertain and relax with family and friends or alone. With additions like fire pits or outdoor fireplaces, they can also be used year-round, which increases their appeal and value. This is another area that can be combined with outdoor kitchens or dining areas to create a more complete outdoor living space.

Finally, people are also beginning to invest in spaces such as outdoor screen rooms, bars, and offices, expanding the potential for outdoor living to include more ways to work and entertain. 

Grills and Barbecues Top Outdoor Kitchen Features

Illustration showing the top outdoor kitchen features for outdoor living spaces

Of all the available options, a massive majority of 97% of experts agree that grills and barbecues are by far the most popular addition to an outdoor kitchen. In a sense this may be because the outdoor kitchen sprang up around them; people have been grilling and cooking outdoors in some fashion for centuries. The rest of the outdoor kitchen helps facilitate that and makes it easier and more enjoyable. With the grill being the main feature of the space, you can create outdoor meals for friends and family, or simply move the cooking outside when it gets hot indoors.

Adding a sink to the area is the second more popular feature, according to 36% of experts. Having a sink in your outdoor kitchen means that you don’t need to enter the home to wash up - which can be a big time saver. It also gives guests an option for washing their hands without having to go inside, which can be a great choice for parties and large events.

Pizza ovens are another up-and-coming popular choice for the outdoor kitchen as well. 26% of industry experts agree that they will be a top trending feature. A pizza oven gives you the ability to do more than grill your food, so you have more options on how to use the space.

Finally, 23% of experts also feel that covers, bars, and built-in seating are all equally popular options to consider. These last few can help enhance the area, but aren’t really necessary for its use. Cabinets and storage, as well as a fridge round out the list of popular options, with 15% and 13% of experts agreeing that these would be desirable as well.

Outdoor kitchens are versatile areas that can become anything that you want or need them to be. They can be as simple as a grill and some countertops or as elaborate as a fully functional kitchen complete with refrigerator, cabinets, built-in seating, and a pizza oven.

Furniture and Firepits Top Outdoor Living Features

Comfortable outdoor furniture and fire pits as the most sought-after outdoor living features in 2022

There are many amenities and features that can be added to outdoor living spaces. Of these, 69% of industry professionals say the most popular is comfortable outdoor furniture and 67% also feel that fire pits are going to be sought-after. Both make sense when considering how the spaces are used, as well as the other growing trends of wanting indoor spaces outside and wanting spaces that can be used year-round. Comfortable outdoor furniture can help make the space more enjoyable; if you can relax and be comfortable there, you’re going to use it more, whether it’s for entertaining others or for yourself.

Fire pits make great additions to every outdoor living space. They create heat and light, so you can use them as a gathering place in the evenings, or as a way to add heat to the area in the colder months of the year. Fire pits were also the second most popular addition to outdoor living spaces last year, so this is a trend with staying power.

Outdoor fireplaces are also fairly popular, but continue to lag behind fire pits. This could be in part because firepits are smaller, less expensive, and in many instances can be easily moved. Outdoor fireplaces are permanent additions to the area, as well as more expensive to build. So, while they make a beautiful statement, they aren’t as versatile as the firepit, and may therefore lag in popularity.

Swimming pools, hot tubs, and outdoor connectivity (Wifi, TVs, and other electronics) are equally popular this year as well. These features can also help enhance the outdoor living space, increasing your enjoyment of the area.

Saltwater Pools Are a Major Outdoor Living Trend in 2022

 Graphic showing saltwater pools as one of the most popular swimming pool trends in 2022 followed by plunge pools and tanning steps

Saltwater pools are the most popular pool trend of 2022, according to 56% of experts. Pools have increased in popularity in general over the last few years, and saltwater pools are a great choice for many people. They cost less in yearly chemicals, and the saltwater feels softer on the skin, as well as less abrasive to eyes and hair. They cost roughly the same as other pools to install with average costs between $30,000 and $70,000, which makes them an attractive option for those looking to install a new pool.

Other popular pool trends, according to 50% of home design experts, include smaller pools and plunge pools. These are a great way to cool off on a hot day, but don’t take up nearly as much space or cost as much to install. Ledges and tanning steps are also a popular trend. If you enjoy hanging out by the pool, but not necessarily in the water, these can be a nice addition. They’re also great for parties and entertaining, as it gives people options for how to use the area.

LED lights are also a great addition not only for gatherings but also for pool safely at nighttime, extending the amount of use that it gets. LED lights are bright and energy-efficient, so they make a good addition to pool areas.

Finally, infinity-style pools and pools with natural elements are also popular. These pools are more about style than function, so one may be a good choice for your home over another if you want it to blend in better with your property. 

Methodology

For this report, Fixr.com surveyed 40 top experts in the home construction industry. Each of the professionals who responded have a wealth of experience and currently work in the building, remodeling or landscaping fields. In order to compile the trends and associated percentages, we asked them a mix of open-ended and multiple choice questions. All percentages were rounded. In some cases, they were able to select more than one option.

The chosen contributors to this report were selected due to their extensive expertise, as well as their success in the industry and reputable designs. Their combined responses represent a clear picture of current trends in 2022 based on their expert knowledge.

The Experts

Author 

Adam Graham is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. He analyzes and writes about the real estate and home construction industries, covering a range of associated topics. He has been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens and The Boston Globe, and written for various outlets including the National Association of Realtors, and Insurance News Net Magazine.