How the Pandemic has Accelerated the Trend for Outdoor Living

Written by Owen Wright

4 November 2020

The trend for maximising outdoor living (even into the winter months) was already on our radar for 2020 and 2021, but this mindset has been well and truly supercharged by the pandemic this year. As we reach the autumn and winter months and lockdown continues to keep people confined to their homes, outdoor spaces are becoming key investment areas for consumers looking to relax and socialise (especially if you can’t meet indoors).

Images from left to right: @poppy_loves_london, @wilsonresidence

The pandemic hasn’t necessarily stopped householders from spending on luxury items. Instead, money once marked for holidays abroad is now being invested in other places, including the garden. In April, eBay saw hot tub sales surge by a whopping 1,080%, as consumers created holidays at home.

As we settle into autumn, retailers are also seeing increased demand for outdoor heating solutions, as consumers look to make the most of the outdoor spaces that they enjoyed so much throughout the summer. John Lewis has seen an 82% increase in demand for outdoor heaters this September when compared with September 2019 and more eco-conscious consumers look to fire pits and blankets in an effort to balance the need for cosy with their environmental concerns around electric and gas heaters.

So as outdoor living becomes the social norm, what are some of the garden trends set to emerge/continue into 2021?


Image credits left to right: Sarah Tempest, Hopps House, first_home_at_number1_

Having forgone their favourite holiday destinations in 2020, consumers will be looking to overhaul their gardens for summer 2021, creating a holiday at home atmosphere, reminiscent of their favourite holiday destinations. Perceived as healthier, socialising outdoors is set to become the social norm. This means the garden becomes the ‘public face’ of the home, a role once reserved for the living room. We expect to see a growing appetite for warm colours with a sunny aesthetic, as householders look to give the garden a summer feel no matter the weather.


Image credits left to right: Matt Strawford, Tom Honan

Rapid urbanisation has driven a boom in apartment living, in cities with limited access to nature or green spaces. Spending more time in cramped apartments, householders are looking to maximise whatever outdoor living space they have.

Courtyards and balconies are no longer an afterthought but a luxury worth some investment. We expect to see consumer interest in cladding, painted masonry and fence panelling increase, as they look to turn small yards into specially designed outdoor spaces.

Greenery will play an integral part in this trend. As the popularity of houseplants continues to thrive, expect to see consumers investing heavily in outdoor green foliage, especially that of tropical varieties. Walls and fences become a pivotal backdrop for this abundance of greenery as customers plant vertically.


Image credits left to right: Nikki To, Andrew Crowley, samssmokeshed, Nikki To

As we experience longer hotter summers and a new breed of barbecue professionals (Lennox Hastie and Genevieve Taylor) emerge on the culinary scene, the art of barbecuing is rediscovered. No longer just about cooking chunks of meat, BBQ becomes a method to make a variety of complex and flavourful dishes. With veganism continuing to increase, expect to see consumers experimenting with new ways to cook vegetables on the BBQ too.

Even into the winter months, the BBQ will remain a key focus in the garden as we remain outdoors to socialise. Looking to keep warm while in the garden with family, we expect to see householders cooking up hearty meals of smoky chilli, slow-cooked stews and soups, reminiscent of meals enjoyed at cancelled winter markets.

Our 2021/22 seasonal trend books take care of finding the inspiration and provide guidance to help you apply our key trends to your specialism, whether it’s product design, art direction or marketing messaging. Click the ‘Download Now’ button on this post to receive a complimentary demo of our Home and Interiors Autumn Winter 2021/22 Trend Book.

Written by Owen Wright

Owen joined the team as Trend Researcher in 2017 and supports the Strategy and Insight team delivering bespoke consultancy to brands and manufacturers. He previously worked as an innovation specialist at Godfrey Syrett. He has a degree in Industrial and Product Design from the University of Teeside.

Easy to digest, visually inspiring, and just the right dose of information.

Webb deVlam

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