I was curious to see whether what I was recommending to my clients matched with the current trends the industry pundits were talking about. The great thing about the Internet is that it was really easy to find out. Within minutes I was able to find out that Benchmark Building Services Inc. is at—or even ahead of—the curve.
1. Wood-alternative, composite and low-maintenance decks
We’ve been building wood-alternative, composite, and low-maintenance decks for years—TREX, Timbertech, AZEK, etc., so it was no surprise to learn that the trend to build with composite materials is continuing. There are a few reasons driving this trend. Many of our clients are making major investments in the design and construction of their outdoor space and want to maximize their return on investment. Composite decks typically have a longer lifespan than most wood decks, lasting up to twenty-five or thirty years.
Many of our clients are also busy professionals, or are close to retirement, wanting to create their ideal outdoor space before they retire, and don’t have the time or inclination to worry about ongoing deck maintenance. Composite decks stay “like new” with a minimal commitment to maintenance; they are the low-maintenance choice. And, because environmental considerations are so much at the forefront these days, many of our clients like the idea of a deck solution that doesn’t involve cutting down trees. As a side note, some of the composite decks actually effectively use recycled materials.
2. Outdoor Living Rooms
With an array of superior outdoor furniture now available (with fabrics designed to be water resistant and not to fade) combined with the many awning/canopy solutions on the market, many people are taking the indoors out—creating luxurious living-room-style seating areas. These spaces are great for chilling out in and are ideal for entertaining. Here is an example from Hauser, a Toronto supplier of premium outdoor furniture. (Picture courtesy of Hauser.)
3. Outdoor Kitchens
Maybe because so many of my clients spend 60 hour work weeks indoors, outdoor kitchens are also very popular. This allows you to take your entertaining completely outdoors. Eating on your deck has always been a staple activity. Now you can cook outdoors, eat outdoors, and retire to your outdoor living room—possibly with a dip in between if you happen to have a pool. (We can help you with that too– we work with an award-winning Pool and Landscape Designer.)
4. Neutral Colours
Because composite decks last close to twenty-five years, plus or minus a few, people don’t want to get locked into colours that can quickly go out of fashion. As a result, neutral colours like taupe and grey are quite common. Colour accents are added with flowers, seat cushions, and accessories. That way, as styles change, or your tastes change, or even just the season changes, your space will look contemporary and stylish.
5. Outdoor Lighting
The technology behind outdoor lighting has improved vastly over the last 10 to 15 years. Today, creative lighting solutions are integrated into the design of your deck. The result is a functional and aesthetically pleasing ambiance that brings your deck to life at night. This allows you to use your deck into the late evening hours and creates a beautiful space in which to entertain.
6. Protection From the Elements
Maybe it is because of climate change, my clients want to protect themselves, not only from the rain, but also from the heat and harmful rays of the sun. We are now designing and building some sort of protection from the elements into almost all of our custom deck design solutions.
This might include:
- retractable or stationary awnings
- pergolas with retractable canopies
- gazebos to house seating or cooking areas
- covered porches
- seating areas under second-storey decks
It is unlikely that the current climate trend will change any time soon and so I expect that adding protection from the elements will be an ongoing trend. (The picture below is courtesy of the ShadeFX website. ShadeFX products are available through Benchmark Building Services Inc.)
7. Vacation-style Settings
This is a combination of many trends. Beautiful outdoor settings now being designed and built for homeowners you used to see only in the brochures of resorts we went to on vacation. Now it is common for homeowners to have designed a vacation style setting for their very own backyards.
These settings may include features like:
- outdoor living room
- outdoor kitchen
- one or more pergolas
- multilevel decks
- multicolour decks
- stunning outdoor lighting
- hot tubs or spas
- water features
- luscious gardens
Today there is a trend for homeowners to create beautiful spaces in which to relax and entertain. Understanding the trends will make sure that you build an outdoor paradise that not only meets your needs but will contribute as a positive factor should you decide to sell your home.
That’s all for now. Until next time, we’ll keep Building It Right.™
(Top and third pictures courtesy of Trex.)