(Family Features) Inspired by neighbors, home improvement shows and social media channels like Pinterest and Houzz, today’s homeowners are entering the deck planning and building process more informed than ever before. But sorting through this wealth of information and inspiration can make it hard to decipher what’s really hot for today’s outdoor spaces – and to choose what’s right for your home.
Surveying the wide variety of options is the first step in deciding how you’ll approach designing your outdoor space. Start by considering some of the top influences expected to dominate the outdoor living landscape this season, according to the experts at Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing.
Designing outside the box. Gone are the days of simple squared-off decks and basic slab patios. Regardless of the size of the yard – or budget – homeowners today are thinking and building beyond the basic square space. Remodelers and architects report increased interest from customers in decks with multiple levels, curves, cantilevers, pergolas and even walls to create three-dimensional interest and define different functional areas.
Bringing the indoors out. The lines between indoors and out will continue to blur as homeowners look to extend the style, comfort and function of their interior spaces to their outdoor living areas. More and more indoor activities are migrating outside with the addition of features such as outdoor kitchens, dining nooks and fireplaces. Demand also is up for features like integrated benches with cushions and accent pillows, storage components and lighting, along with accessories such as ornamental post caps and railing with decorative balusters similar to those found inside the home.
Tropical staycation. From New England to Southern California, the look of the tropics will dominate as a top outdoor design scheme. Materials that evoke the ambiance of an exotic island getaway are all the rage, from tiki torches, cabanas and waterfalls to deck boards featuring warm colors and multi-colored streaking inspired by tropical hardwoods.
High performance, low maintenance. While aesthetics drive many deck-building decisions, performance is just as important. Increasingly, homeowners are seeking high-performance, low maintenance materials that allow them to spend more time enjoying their outdoor living space than maintaining it.
This motivation has contributed to the continued innovation and popularity of composite decking and railing. Unlike wood, high-performance wood alternative decking such as Trex resists fading, staining, scratching and mold. Upkeep is hassle-free with no sanding, staining or painting required, and food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water.
To see examples of outdoor living settings featuring this year’s top looks, visit the Inspiration Gallery at www.trex.com.