Outside is the New Inside: Top Outdoor Living Trends

Over the past several years, outdoor living has become a top priority for homeowners. Backyards are turning into entertaining spaces, outdoor eating spaces and outdoor living rooms. To make this possible, homeowners are incorporating features like patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces into their yard designs. For evening entertaining, more and more homeowners are installing lights to illuminate their granite and natural stone hardscape designs.

Landscapers and designers are seeing some exciting outdoor living trends for this upcoming year. Whether you choose to incorporate just one or all of these trends into your yard design, it’s best to use granite and natural stone — materials that are maintenance-free, durable and will last for generations. Your local Swenson Granite Works store can assist you, no matter the size of the project.

Comfortable Gathering Spaces

A cozy gathering space for this Woodbury Gray granite fire pit. Project by Jen Migonis.

Going all in to create a top notch outdoor space that works well for both entertaining guests and relaxing with family is an investment worth making. Elements such as a granite fire pit, granite fireplace, and a patio area with an outdoor kitchen and bar can transform your backyard into what feels like an extension of the home’s interior and make it easy to have the whole family over to enjoy the outdoors.

A backyard retreat in Hollis, NH featuring Woodbury Gray granite rock face steps, a full color natural cleft bluestone patio, honed Woodbury Gray granite grill countertops, Boston blend mosaic thin veneer, and Woodbury Gray granite wall caps. Project by Northern Lights Landscape Contractor.

“Cooking and entertaining are a big focus right now,” says Frank Mariani of Mariani Landscape. “Trends that won’t go out of style are seating arrangements that provide inviting spaces for small to large gatherings, fireplaces and heaters to extend the seasons, and lighting to extend the experience.”

Take a look at some of our favorite granite and natural stone products, along with our moodboard, to help you design your own backyard retreat.

Not only will a strategic design go a long way in creating a nice place to gather, but it can also elevate your everyday. “I’m finding folks are wanting to do staycations more than vacations,” said Lloyd Hull of See Level Landscape Design. “When they come home and have that week off, they don’t want to spend the money packing the family up and traveling. They want to take their money and put it into their home so they can enjoy it on a weekly basis.”

A Bright Idea: Functional Lighting

Bluestone steps, treads and bluestone pavers lead to the front door of this elegant, illuminated Marshfield, Massachusetts home. Project by Seoane Landscape Design.

After sunset, lighting is essential to outdoor living. Hull notes that in years past, people would forgo lighting because of its high cost, but now because of an increase in consumer confidence, homeowners are investing in durable and stylish lighting fixtures, such as Swenson Granite Work’s granite lamp posts.

The folks at the Custom Home Group also give a nod to this idea, “lighting is pretty much always on-trend when it comes to your patio and there are plenty of lighting options available.”

Need a little enlightenment? Here are some bright ideas.

Patio Entertaining Area Lighting

Project by Ettore Masonry

Light your patio entertaining area with granite lamp posts or patio pillar lamp posts. You can also hang an outdoor chandelier from a pergola to illuminate a dining area, or string lights around the fence or overhead to add just the right amount of whimsy and excitement to your exterior.

Walkway Lighting

Illuminate the path to your garden, patio, front or back door with walkway lamp posts. These smaller posts with side-mounted light fixtures will accent your walkway and enhance the overall visual appeal of your landscaping.

Lamp Posts Bordering Long Driveways

Consider the length of your driveway and the amount of light you will need when choosing your lamp posts. You may want to place a row of lights along the entire length of the driveway, or carefully select points to highlight curves or narrow edges.

Driveway Entrance Lamp Posts

A lamp post in front of your driveway will act as a guiding light for you and your guests. Personalize your post with engraved house numbers for added curb appeal.

Front Doorway Lighting

Light the front exterior of your home with a granite lamp post near the doorway. It’s a sophisticated way to enhance your home’s entry.

Nature-Inspired Designs

Inspiration drawn from natural surroundings is a big outdoor living trend for 2019 and an easy one to achieve at that. The basic concept behind natural design is simply to incorporate the outside environment into the designed landscape. Natural stone has a more organic look and feel than poured concrete pads or uniform pavers.

The Rustic Look

Project by Elwell’s Masonry Inc.

With no cutting or shaping, flagstones can make a dramatic impact in their completely natural shape. Large Old Chester granite irregular natural flagstones are ideal for creating a naturalistic walkway. These large stepping stones integrate beautifully with the landscape, giving a rustic appearance. Flagstone pavers are an excellent choice for walkways because of their nonslip textured surface. They also work well for patios because they cover a wide surface area and are relatively flat and smooth.

The Contemporary Minimalist Landscape

Photography by John McCarthy

Swenson Granite Works provided granite for a custom-built contemporary home in Andover, Massachusetts that connects the interior, landscaping and natural environment in the most intriguing ways. Andover Landscape designed the contemporary minimalist landscape for this unique residence using Swenson Granite Works’ Woodbury Gray granite throughout the property, from the pool patio and coping to the front walkway and steps. “The Woodbury Gray granite harmonizes perfectly with the native tones of the site,“ notes John Nardozza, Managing Director of Andover Landscape.

Read more about how this New England minimalist landscape uses classic materials to connect with nature.

When choosing paints, finishes and décor, stick to an earth-tone color palette and even consider playing with different textures for a more organic look.

Backyard Herb Gardens

Any home chef will love this outdoor trend for the upcoming year. Having an herb garden at home for fresh-cooked meals is also a great way to spruce up your outdoor space.

“Nowadays, it seems as though there are more foodies cooking at home and they want that convenience factor with these herb gardens that we can design for them,” Hull says. Consider an herb garden constructed of Swenson Granite Works’ granite garden edging.