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Sanctuary, self-care and sustainability top outdoor living trends

(BPT) - Over the past several years, our backyards have become much more than spaces for weekend barbecues. They're sanctuaries where we go to decompress from our increasingly hectic lives and gather safely with family and friends to celebrate life's special moments. With self-care an increasing priority, it's no surprise that creating a sense of sanctuary tops the list of trends expected to influence exterior design this year. According to the outdoor living experts at Trex, following are four trends poised to shape the way we live, unwind and entertain in the great outdoors in the year ahead:

Restorative Retreats

Connecting with nature is critical for humans to maintain optimal health, and a backyard area can play a major role in promoting both mental and physical well-being. Creating a restorative backyard retreat can be as simple as turning a cozy corner into a reading nook by adding plush cushions and pillows. Or, with a little more budget, you can transform a deck into a tranquil space for yoga or meditation. Simple additions, like fencing, privacy screens or lattice, can enhance a sense of sanctuary and luxury.

And don't forget the space beneath the deck, especially if it's elevated. By adding an under-deck drainage system like RainEscape® to keep the space below the deck dry, this area can be the perfect spot for a hot tub, cold tub or sauna. This innovative system installs above the joists of a deck's foundation, allowing homeowners to discreetly run gas and electric lines to create an outdoor space with the same function and finishes as a room inside the home.

Natural and Neutral

Homeowners are embracing the elegance of a more minimalist palette, opting for cleaner lines and materials that create a harmonious and modern outdoor ambiance. As a result, nature-inspired hues are set to dominate in the year ahead. Demand for light, neutral decking is up, as evidenced by the adoption of new offerings, such as Trex's Transcend Lineage and Signature lines. Featuring authentic wood aesthetics in light, refined hues that complement indoor flooring materials, these high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking options are ideal for achieving seamless continuity from the inside, out.

Sustainable Selections

People are more conscious than ever of their environmental footprint and want to create outdoor spaces that last without leaving a damaging impact. Native plantings, pollinator gardens, stormwater captures and zero-scaping are all gaining popularity. Likewise, demand for eco-friendly materials is on the rise. Made from up to 95% recycled and reclaimed materials, Trex composite decking is an ideal choice for today's increasingly eco-conscious homeowners. Warrantied to last up to 50 years, it won't fade, stain, warp or crack and never needs to be sanded, stained or refinished, making it a sustainable choice that feels as good as it looks. The brand also offers aluminum railings made with 40% recycled material and durable, weather-resistant outdoor furnishings made from recycled milk jugs.

DIY: Design It Yourself

'If you can dream it, you can do it.' When it comes to designing outdoor spaces, this mantra rings true. Today's homeowners have access to a virtually endless array of online tools, cost calculators and expert guidance, making planning, designing and building your dream outdoor space easier than ever. Remember, DIY doesn't mean doing it alone. No matter your experience level or where you are in the process, there are plenty of tools, guides and resources available at your fingertips to help turn your outdoor vision into a view.

For more outdoor living ideas, tips and tools, visit

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