Trends come and go, and outdoor living spaces are no exception. At Water and Earth, we are always striving to create timeless backyards that stand the test of time, while embracing the best of modern landscape design trends. Today, we thought we would talk about landscape design trends we are loving for 2023, that we think will look as fresh 10 years down the line as they do right now.
Bold Pops of Color
In both interiors and exteriors, neutral color palettes have been trending for a while. We understand the appeal. Not only are neutrals a simple way to create a cohesive, calming space, but they never truly go out of style.In outdoor spaces, neutral colors go hand in hand with the natural palettes of organic materials like wood and stone. Many times, it’s simply easier or preferable to inject color by way of plantings.
However, in the last few years we’ve seen color emerging in a big way. As color returns to home design, we are seeing more and more clients who are looking for on-trend pops of color in their modern spaces. One of our favorite ways to inject color into a design is through tile work.
In the space above, we worked to transform a small backyard into an outdoor living space with infinite functionality. For a step by step look at this project, read our design walkthrough. In the end, the homeowners were looking for a modern, comfortable space that felt on-trend while embracing simplicity. From the decking to a cool gray paver patio, much of the color palette for the space was reserved.
The clients loved the design, but were looking to add a punch of personality. Bold color was a perfect way to do this. Above, the outdoor kitchen became the stage for a bright pop of blue in a bold, graphic pattern. The application allowed just enough real estate for this landscape design trend to make a statement without overwhelming the design. A similar application of color can be seen in the space below.
Again, the homeowners loved the sleek, modern design of the space. At large, they were drawn to high contrast, clean color palettes of dark grays and cool creams and white. However, they didn’t want the overall impact of the space to feel grayscale. The long length of the kitchen island provided a natural opportunity to inject a bold pop of color without overwhelming the design.
At the end of the day, many of our homeowners love the idea of the timeless look of a natural, neutral space. However, your home needs to feel personal. Bold pops of color may be trending 2023, but done correctly, they will never go out of style.
The next landscape design trend is implementing decking next to a custom pool. While this may not sound strange, a large portion of recent pool design prioritized stone or concrete pool decks. This makes sense–wooden decks of the past were not exactly waterproof. Rot and wear and tear made the idea of a pool deck a better dream than a reality. However, as materiality has evolved, the pool deck has emerged as a design trend that is ready to withstand the test of time.
Composite decking has allowed decks to become increasingly water resistant. It has also opened up the door for a wider variety of colors and finishes. Pair this with the aesthetic appeal of warm wood next to the translucent blue of a swimming pool and you have a winning design combination.
As with traditional stone or concrete pool decks, wood decks can be configured in a large range of layouts. Below are two very different executions of the same landscape design trend.
The first example, seen below, shows a custom pool flanked on the two long sides by long tanning decks. An existing tree was left on the property, and the decking has been cut to wrap around the trunk. The result is a softer, more organic finish to a space that is still undeniably modern.
The next example of this landscape design trend can be seen below. The composite deck in this project has been placed next to the pool. However, here you can see that it is elevated to a higher grade than the pool below. Creating an elevated deck is often less difficult than creating an elevated patio, and has a big impact on the finished space. Pool goers have plenty of space to tan, while the decking itself ties into the decking used off the back entrance of the home.
Whether you’re looking to incorporate more natural wood into your outdoor living space, or are just looking to do something different than a traditional concrete paver patio, decking next to the pool is a 2023 landscape design trend that we fully support.
Mixed Materials, Patterns, and Textures
A great landscape designer knows that a backyard living space should never feel one note. A good balance should always be achieved between functionality and aesthetic interest. In 2023, this next landscape design trend achieves just that.
No client wants their space to feel boring. However, not everybody is ready for a bold pop of color, either. Thankfully, dynamic visual interest can be achieved in other ways. One of our favorite trends for the year is mixing materials. From unexpected paver patterns, to a bold blend of modern materials, utilizing this design trend has resulted in some of our favorite finished projects.
In the project above, you can see that a large paver patio surrounds the pool, expanding into living and dining space. When a patio becomes this large, it’s important to find ways to visually break up the space. Here, this is done with interjections of mixed patterns.
Among large, square pavers are swaths of smaller angular pavers in differing shades of gray. They are woven together to create an unexpected interjection of visual texture underfoot. The retaining wall offers yet another variation in shape and texture. While the color story here is subdued, a bold mix of pattern creates obvious visual interest without overwhelming the space.
In the next example, the trend is executed not with distinct variations in pattern, but with careful mixing of mediums and materials. Composite decking is interrupted by a board-formed concrete gas fire pit. To the left side of the frame, rows of concrete steppers draw the eye. Between the decking and the privacy fence, stones create even more variety in materiality.
In both projects, textures, materials, and patterns were used in unexpected ways to enhance the client’s outdoor space. From patterns in patio pavers to mixed materials, finding new ways to bring an unexpected take to modern design is always on trend to us.
Auxiliary Sitting Areas
Sometimes, you need a break from the action. This next 2023 landscape design trend helps you do exactly that. While the majority of our outdoor living space are meant to center interaction around key elements such as the pool or outdoor dining space, sometimes clients express interest in having quieter, cozier corners to escape to.
Creating auxiliary patio nooks for additional seating is quickly becoming one of our favorite landscape design trends. Whether the client is looking for a peaceful place to read a book, or a spot to watch the kids splash from afar, an auxiliary seating area works. The challenge is to ensure that the space doesn’t end up looking like an after thought.
In the example below, we turned a forgotten corner of the homeowner’s backyard into a perfect auxiliary seating nook. Complete with lighting, the clients are able to use the space day or night. The patio, which is made up of the same pavers as the central patio, creates separation without feeling completely separated.
As outdoor living spaces continue to evolve, we only expect to see a rise in little nooks like these. And when they look this good, it’s hard not to get on board.
Looking for more design trends?
To view more spaces like the ones shown here, visit our blog. From full design walkthroughs, to answers to your most-asked design questions, we have the answers you’re looking for. For day to day inspiration, follow us on Instagram.