Winter might be bearing down hard on Westeros, but here in the good ol’ USA, summer is finally around the corner. Of course, you don’t need the reminder—if you’re anything like us, you already have your summer playlist queued up, all the ingredients for the perfect Moscow Mule on hand, and the grill on standby mode.
Yes, we’re excited for the lazy, yard-lounging days ahead. But this summer, don’t just plan to hide away in the backyard. The year’s top outdoor trends bring the party to the front—and create an opportunity to mingle with your neighbors. (Remember them?)
“After spending so many hours at work disconnected to nature and often only interacting with people over the internet, the trend is to grab as much of real life and life friendships as possible,” explains Pablo Solomon, a designer and artist in Austin, TX.
Don’t have a front porch? No worries! There’s still plenty to do outside that will bring new life to your space. Here are the hottest outdoor design ideas trending in 2019.
Front yards and porches as an extended living room
Photo by Nested Design Studio
Bring on the swings, rocking chairs, and sweet tea: The front porch is having a moment again—and not just in the South. Homeowners everywhere are embracing the idea of an inviting front-of-home space that almost mirrors what’s on the inside.
“People are rediscovering the joys of using the front yard and porch as an extended living room,” Solomon says. “This gives the homeowner actual benefit from the front yard other than just showcasing the house from the street. And by having neighbors enjoying their front yards, it creates more of a sense of community.”
Put out some beautiful planters and hanging plants, fill your window boxes with bright flowers, and even move the fire pit to the front. You suddenly have a new favorite hang space where all of your neighbors will want to stop by.
Black and white patio furniture
Photo by Porch Light Interiors
Is this the Hamptons or the Amalfi Coast? Nope, it’s just your formerly humble patio, decked out in chic black and white furniture.
“This year’s hottest outdoor furniture trend is all about the contrast of black and white,” explains Justin Riordan, founder and designer at Spade and Archer Design Agency, in Portland, OR. “High-contrast furniture like white chairs and black cushions or vice versa will give your space an instant upgrade.”
Not sure where to start? Look for black-and-white, striped outdoor chaises or a white outdoor couch with black pillows. Just make sure to invest in a durable material that’s weatherproof and easy to clean.
Photo by JMJ Studios
Layering materials is the new, modern way to build, says Duane Draughon, outdoor living designer at VizX Design Studios, in Illinois.
“Outdoor living projects are changing in an interesting way, because past projects would … all be one material throughout,” Draughon says. (Think: A patio area consisting of only red brick pavers.)
“Now we’re designing with different materials and colors,” he explains. “The walls could be built out of concrete with a wood bench, while the floor can be a porcelain tile with concrete steppers.”
If you’re interested in layering your outdoor space, you might want to work with a designer on this one. The pro can help you figure out the right contrast of materials.
Photo by Noelle Interiors
As long as you’re sprucing up your front porch, take a few hours to focus on your front door. Statement doors are majorly trending this year, says Annabel Joy, interior designer and co-founder of Trim Design Co., in Massachusetts. Plus, painting your front door is perhaps one of the easiest home improvement jobs out there.
“We’re seeing more and more people painting their front doors in a different color from the trim and exterior as a fun accent to their home’s facade,” Joy says. “I also predict that the current trend of ceiling beams and farmhouse kitchens will lead to a resurgence of the Dutch door style, especially for side and back door.”
High-top bars and outdoor islands
Photo by Mullin
Want to up your entertaining game? You’ll be the belle of the block with a high-top bar or outdoor island.
“High-top tables, bars, or an outdoor island are all a great way to get that restaurant or bar feeling while at home,” says Linda Fennessy, design consultant at Kitchen Magic. “It makes having an afternoon cocktail that much more enjoyable.”
Installing a permanent island or bar might cost you a pretty penny, but this doesn’t have to be too expensive—you can order a moveable high-top bar and stools for around $200.