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Emerging Trends in Outdoor Living: Transforming Backyards into Restorative Retreats in 2024

Over the past several years, our backyards have become much more than spaces for weekend barbecues. They’re sanctuaries where we go to decompress from our increasingly hectic lives and gather safely with family and friends to celebrate life’s special moments.

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As we head into a new year, the allure of the great outdoors continues to captivate homeowners inspiring many to reimagine their own outdoor spaces with a focus on connecting the restorative benefits of nature with cutting-edge innovation and sustainability.

“Countless studies have shown that exposure to nature can decrease stress, anxiety and fatigue, increase length of sleep, and improve mood,” says Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing and ESG development for Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of composite decking and railing and a leading brand of high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products. “As more homeowners recognize the positive impact of the great outdoors on their overall health, wellness and enjoyment, the value of outdoor living spaces will continue to rise.”

With self-care an increasing priority, it’s no surprise that creating a sense of sanctuary tops the list of trends expected to influence exterior design in 2024. According to the experts at Trex, following are five trends poised to shape the way we live, unwind, and entertain in the great outdoors in the year ahead:

Restorative Retreats

Connecting with nature is critical for humans to maintain optimal health and a backyard area can play a major role in promoting both mental and physical wellbeing. Creating a restorative backyard retreat can be as simple as turning a cozy corner into a reading nook by adding plush cushions and pillows. Or, with a little more budget, you can transform your deck into a tranquil space for yoga or meditation outfitted with comfortable seating, string lights, speakers for playing soothing sounds, and lots of lush plants and greenery. Products like fencing, privacy screens and lattice can also enhance a sense of sanctuary.

And don’t forget the space beneath the deck, especially if it’s elevated. With the addition of an under-deck drainage system to keep the area below the deck dry, this can be the perfect place for a hot tub, cold tub, sauna or outdoor dressing room. Using an integrated network of troughs and downspouts, the Trex RainEscape system uniquely installs above the joists of a deck’s foundation, allowing for the safe and seamless addition of electrical and gas lines to power ceiling fans and lighting, as well as outdoor kitchen and entertainment components so homeowners can create an outdoor oasis with the same function and finishes as a room inside the home.

Natural and Neutral

From Benjamin Moore to Valspar, the color experts have made their predictions for 2024 and nature-inspired hues are set to dominate home décor both inside and out. Demand for light, neutral decking is up as evidenced in the adoption of the recently introduced Trex Transcend Lineage and Trex Signature decking lines. Featuring hues inspired by some of the country’s most picturesque natural settings, from Biscayne and Carmel to Rainier and Whidbey, along with the most authentic wood aesthetics to date, these high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking options provide the perfect backdrop for a neutral outdoor palette.

“Homeowners are embracing the elegance of a more minimalist palette, opting for cleaner lines and materials that create a harmonious and modern outdoor ambiance,” explains Adkins. “Using complementary flooring materials from indoors to outside creates a sense of seamless continuity. For homes with premium hardwood floors inside, composite decking in light natural tones, such as those in our new Signature and Lineage lines, offer perfect pairings for achieving this unified look.”

A shift from high contrast to homeowners using cohesive colors on exterior accents like cladding, trim and windows is also anticipated. This approach creates a timeless foundation that affords homeowners the freedom and flexibility to customize and personalize the look of their outdoor spaces from season to season or year to year with fresh furnishings and accessories.

Sustainable Selections

As sustainability remains a major focus, expect to see further expansion of environmentally friendly backyard projects like native planting, pollinator gardens, stormwater captures and zero-scaping, along with more eco-friendly design choices. From surfaces to furnishings and décor, outdoor design for 2024 is all about leaving a lighter environmental footprint.

Demand for eco-friendly materials will continue to rise. Made from up to 95% recycled plastic film and reclaimed industrial wood scrap, Trex composite decking leads the category in sustainability. Trex also offers composite deck railings along with sleek, stylish aluminum railings made with 40% recycled material. Trex Outdoor Furniture is made from recycled milk jugs, material that becomes infinitely reusable in the manufacturing process. The brand also recently introduced a line of solar-powered railing post caps that harness the energy of the sun to deliver as much as 19 hours of illumination without any electricity or wiring.

“People are more conscious than ever of their environmental impact and are looking to create outdoor spaces that last without leaving a lasting impact on the environment,” notes Adkins.

Destination Spaces

We all want to live like we’re vacationing at a five-star resort, even if our backyard is the size of a postage stamp. Inspired by their own travels as well as the luxurious lifestyles featured on TV and in magazines, today’s homeowners have become increasingly fluent in creating destination-style outdoor spaces that are calibrated and customized to their own homes, budgets and lifestyles.

A great place to start is with a foundation that looks luxurious while also being durable and easy to maintain. Composite decking delivers on all counts. Warrantied to last up to 50 years, high-performance offerings won’t fade, stain, warp or crack and never need to be sanded, stained or refinished, making composite decking an ideal choice for homeowners seeking the rich look of wood without all the labor- and time-intensive upkeep.

Once you’ve built the base for your outdoor space, furnish it with resort-inspired décor, such as cabana chairs in nautical stripes, daybeds with room enough for two (or more), and a hanging egg chair for a touch of whimsy. Then bring the look home with a stylish pergola for shade, a fire pit table for warmth and ambiance, and lots of tropical plants (climate permitting) to create the look and feel of a glamorous getaway.

DIY: Design It Yourself

As Walt Disney famously stated, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” When it comes to designing outdoor spaces, this mantra rings true. Having been raised on home makeover TV shows and inspirational social channels like Pinterest and Instagram, today’s newest homeowners are entering the process with more knowledge and design savvy than any previous generation. They also have access to a virtually endless array of digital tools and information, making it easier than ever to bring their deck visions to life.

“DIY doesn’t mean doing it alone,” Adkins adds. “From TV and social media to online videos and websites, there are countless resources available to help guide you successfully through the process of designing and building an outdoor space. Our Trex Academy site, for instance, offers a comprehensive library of step-by-step how-to guides and videos for navigating a DIY deck build. We also offer a robust mix of tools, including an AR Deck Visualizer, a decking color selector, a materials cost calculator, and a user-friendly deck designer tool, that make designing a deck easy and fun. And, if you don’t want to go it alone, just click on our handy “Find a Builder” link to locate professional contractors in your area.”

No matter your experience level or where you are in the process, there are tools, products, guides and support available to turn your outdoor vision into a view. For more inspiration, ideas and information, visit Trex.com.

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