Landscaping Trends for 2021: Incredible Outdoor Living (Updated March 2021)

We have our finger on the pulse of 2021’s biggest landscaping trends and must-haves sprouting up across the Garden State with our top pics for your inspiration.

Read through our overview of design ideas for patios, lawns, and gardens. These trends paint a picture of today’s lifestyle and values. They focus on family, entertainment, low-maintenance, and customized construction in your outdoor space.

Outdoor Living Rooms

Landscape design trends currently include elements of the enduring classics. Features that focus on function, comfort, and bringing interior amenities to the outdoors. 

Outdoor living rooms are the hottest of landscaping trends in 2021

Creating outdoor living rooms is the hottest landscaping trend this year. An effortless transition from inside the home to the outside is everyone’s must-have.

Increase your property value and by extending it outdoors to create more useable space. It makes for easy entertaining and cleanup at the drop of a hat. It also allows for an open-air, pandemic-conscious mingling of guests.


Having an outdoor kitchen, dining area and bar  will make your backyard into a destination. Include high-end kitchen appliances, granite counter-tops, and lighting for luxury day and night.

Even showering or taking a bath outside has become trendy. Outdoor showers offer naturalistic luxury, and they are a great way to rinse off after gardening, swimming in the pool, or laying in the sun.


Comfort in Your Outdoor Living Space

Aesthetically pleasing landscape design should align with a home’s style.. But it is the unique nuances in a renovation that create a sense of intrigue.

The small things add up and ultimately elicit specific feelings, like relaxation. To increase your comfort level and reach your backyard goals, include these tips to make it cozy:

Give Yourself Some Shade

Create a space outdoors where you can be comfortable out of the sun or rain to maximize your landscape’s potential.  Incorporate a pavilion or pergola into your design and reap the benefits.


Plant flowering vines for additional privacy. Ornamental grasses enhance your landscape by making a statement and adding vertical interest.

Or use fabrics to block out the elements. Retractable options are great for outdoor living and dining rooms. They allow you to transition from having lunch in the shade to lounging by the pool in the sun with ease.

Outdoor Furniture Trends

Outdoor furniture has become a staple in most homes. But this year’s trends are about comfort and more time relaxing outside. 

This year you will see more large, custom dining tables that offer space for lots of food and everyone to spread out.

Trendy outdoor space with patio, pool, and custom dining table

Get poolside this summer with tons of day and night lounge space to lay in the sun and look at the stars. 

Poolside day and night lounge furniture is a current landscaping tren

Retaining wall benches will provide deep seating for extra guests. Add soft cushions, especially around a fire pit, and you have got the perfect night.

Retaining wall surrounding patio offers bench seating

Comfortable outdoor furniture is versatile. It transitions easily through the seasons without signs of wear and tear.

The right outdoor furniture will not burn your skin after sitting for hours in the sun. It also will not collect water and create a soggy mess.

Luckily, outdoor furniture fabrics have come a long way in the past few years. Many brands that use acrylic fabrics are waterproof and fade resistant. This means no wait time to head outside.

More Stand Apart Comforts to Enjoy:

Privacy in Outdoor Living

From backyard studios to a simple hedge of shrubs, planning for backyard privacy ideas pays off. Available space is key when it comes to your outdoor privacy options. 

Green screens use plant layering to provide privacy on your landscape. They can incorporate trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. But they do more than provide privacy. Greenscreens create windbreaks  and give your property thermal balance too.

If you do not have the space to plant a green screen of trees and shrubs, incorporate a green wall. This is a stand apart feature that will delineate the lines of your outdoor space.  

Green walls have been showing up in urban landscape design for years. Now, this trend is taking over residential landscapes too.  Residential green walls and vertical gardens add depth in a simple, yet very dynamic way.

Create a Hardscape that Wows

Hardscape areas of your lawn with attractive stone, loose stone, or mulch. This technique is gaining popularity as a way of lessening the need for mowing.

Walkway edged with loose stone leading to pergola

Hardscaping is perfect for seating areas, walkways, or highlighting focal points. You can even incorporate an area in your hardscape for displaying potted plants or sculpture.

There are many misconceptions about hardscaping. One of the biggest is that hardscaping requires a large space, when in fact, some of the best hardscapes are created with a simplistic design and less square footage.

Host-friendly hardscapes are the number one trend in 2021. Outdoor dining nooks and full kitchens are in. Many high-end outdoor entertaining designs, include stone pizza ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, and charcoal grills. 

Stone retaining walls that can double as bench seating are a major plus in hardscape designs. Some of the best areas to use this design are near dining areas, firepits, and gardens.    

Permeable pavers are a hardscape option that will help your landscape stay beautiful. These special pavers will decrease the amount of erosion on your property, even if your property is on a hillside. They allow water to sink slowly into the ground and eliminate runoff.

Retaining wall with paver patio and hillside landscaping

Created for commercial purposes, permeable pavers have made their way into residential landscapes. They are easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing, and great for the environment.

More Hardscaping Inspiration Ideas

Outdoor Fire Features

An appreciation for warm, inviting outdoor entertainment areas has increased tenfold. It is now a necessity for every outdoor living space.


And nothing is warmer and more inviting than an outdoor fireplace.

Include an outdoor fireplace or fire pit in your landscape design. Both options will provide warmth for chilly nights and keep bugs away. Fireplaces can also be used for cooking.

Cozy patio with simple firepit and seating

Just the Right Color

There was a lot of uncertainty and chaos in 2020. In response, we are seeing many clients request shades of color that inspire optimism, happiness, and dependability.

Subdued grey and yellow are the top color choices this year. 

Adding color to your landscape is a science. Specific colors will illicit emotions and set the tone for entertaining.

Dark colors, like grey, on woods and fences add a stark contrast to colorful plants and greenery. They also display a less weathered look over time. This means they will not require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to stand apart. 

Eco-Conscious and Self-Sufficient Designs That Deliver

Landscaping trends may change. But sustainable and low maintenance design components never go out of style. Hardscaping makes for less work but softscapes add life.

Don’t forget to soften your hardscape with plants. Here a few ways to be environmentally friendly while creating convenience and beauty in your landscape this year:


Homeowners are increasingly seeking ways to get back to nature. It is part of the bigger lifestyle trend of seeking inspiration from elements that are right underneath our noses.

Naturescaping entails growing native plants to attract indigenous birds, insects, and wildlife. It gives property owners the benefit of developing their own environmentally conscious landscape.

Naturescaping elements include wildflowers, ponds, and water gardens. Water elements provide a place that can become home to native plants and animals.


Cottage-Style Gardening

Go natural with a cottage-style garden. Cottage gardens are dense and lush with a mix of ornamental and edible plants. They offer impressive beauty with less need for weeding and pruning.

Wildflowers and heirloom varieties of plants used in these gardens offer greater resistance to pests. They are also able to adapt better to changes in moisture levels.

Edible Landscapes

Every year the word “fresh” gains more importance. And nothing is fresher than picking your own fruits and vegetables in your backyard.


A small investment of work will soon grow into a plentiful source of wholesome food for family and friends.

To most, picturing an edible landscape means herbs and vegetables. And while that is true, you can also choose a fruit tree to add to your landscape.

Exotic fruit trees are a great addition to any edible landscape. They will also help your naturescape thrive as they are attracting many pollinators.

Container Gardens

If you have not had a garden before or if you are short on time, use containers to start your own edible arrangement. Become a pro at growing your own food on a smaller scale before taking it up a notch.

Remember to choose an area in your yard that gets plenty of sun. Observe whether it is a spot with standing water or runoff. These two factors could significantly change the outcome of your efforts. Flooding your plants will kill them.

Stand Apart Garden Ideas That Wow

Irrigation and Drainage

Many landscapes have drainage problems but there are solutions. Irrigation systems help filter water properly throughout your property.


Irrigation and drainage systems will keep your landscape looking its best. They will also help you save on time, energy, and water waste.

Irrigation systems help water your lawn properly and they are a great way to save money. Although, the upfront cost might not make it seem that way since installation is not cheap.

Your savings will come from the lawn and plants that will remain healthy year after year. An irrigation system ensures your plants get enough water but not too much. Overwatering kills plants too.

Smart watering and proper drainage work together to make your landscape thrive. Retaining walls and French drains have been the go-to for many who have flooding.

But this year we will see more water features that complement your landscape and help manage stormwater.


Ponds and fountains will stop the nightmare of a flooded property and recycle grey water to areas that need it.

Upgrade Outdoor Electronics

Start with Wi-Fi

Your Wi-Fi signal only goes so far. It might work perfectly inside your home but once you are by the pool the connection is lost.

Extend your Wi-Fi outdoors and allow your family and guests to be part of the fun while staying connected. A Wi-Fi boost to the outdoors will also take working from home to a whole new level.  

Landscaping Lighting and Sound

Whether it is watching TV or listening to music, audio and visual technologies add to the fun. Get entertained in a big way with built-in televisions and surround sound outside.

Elegant outdoor living room, kitchen, fireplace with TV and WiFi

These elements expertly placed throughout your landscape will make your experience more immersive.

Utilize low-voltage lighting in your landscape design to save on energy, cost, and maintenance.  Low-voltage lights are available in a plethora of bulb options. They provide safety on walkways, stairs, and around perimeters.

Low voltage landscape lighting on property perimater

The right lighting can also add just the right ambiance to your space. Like audio options, lighting can also be controlled via smartphone.

Audio rooms are trending and for good reason. This technology allows for sound to follow you around your home. Discreet speakers are positioned throughout your outdoor living space, poolscape, and garden.

The technology then uses your smartphone location to track where sound should be played.

More Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Green Technology: Applications and Sensors

Smart applications that govern lighting, pools/spas and security afford control and protection. Homeowners can check cameras, turn on lights, and start warming up their spa with a click.

Smartphone apps to control outdoor lighting, pools and spas is a new landscaping trend

We expect to keep seeing an increase in landscaping green technologies being used. Soil moisture sensors and thermometers will help maintain accurate information.

These forms of green tech will also create an exponential amount of efficiency in your space.    

2021 Landscaping Trends Summary

Blend trending designs with classics for the best look. Incorporate features that work best with your lifestyle and amount of free time.

Make your life easier with green technology and smart use of your water. But most importantly, always customize your landscape design to stand apart.

Make this year more inviting to guests, nature, and most importantly you by contacting the Sponzilli team of experts. Our clients trust us to create landscape designs that are simultaneously on-trend and yet timeless.

Contact us now to start planning for your outdoor living space (973) 244 -1410. 

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