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Strip lighting under stairs in pool area backyard

The 6 Biggest Outdoor Design Trends for 2018

I spend so much time inside client’s homes (and my own) that I often forget that outdoor zones matter too.

And considering that the new year is almost upon us, I thought I better get you across the biggest outdoor design trends for 2018.

Now, you know that exteriors are not my forte. I’m terrible with plants and tend not to work on the outside of people’s homes. So I’ve called in some help today from expert in all things outdoors, Matt Leacy.

For those of you who don’t know Matt, he runs his own successful landscaping biz, Landart Landscapes, and is on deck today to tell us what’s going to be trending in gardens for the year ahead.

So strap yourself in and get ready to embrace the outdoors.

The 6 Biggest Outdoor Design Trends for 2018

Timber decking front patio on raised home

Timber Flooring

“Timber will remain a turn-to,” says Matt. “It can fit into any design aesthetic and can be left to weather and silver or kept vibrant and fresh depending on taste and available time for maintenance.”

“Ultimately, I think we’ll see less consumers falling in the middle when it comes to flooring; they’ll either go minimalist or textured,” he adds. “We’ll also start to see more raw and finished concrete being used both in and out of the pool, on seating, BBQs and general flooring.”

garden paving grey paved steps in grass backyard


“We expect to see different stones being used for flagging and cobbles to break up large areas. There are lots of exciting new stones on the market including different variations on porphyry, limestone and granite,” Matt explains.

“Their finishes, shapes and sizes are also changing. Cobblestones will be used in interesting ways, mixing linear lines with rounded shapes and the like.”

Broken up paving and outdoor furniture in backyard

Fire Pits

“Over the past year, we’ve really seen consumer demand for fire pits reach an all-time high,” Matt tells me. “Traditionally, fire pits weren’t used by that many people; however, they’re increasingly being seen by homeowners as an essential – and an expectation”.

“2018 will see fire-pits reach their peak popularity as more and more people realise the range on the market at different price points. You’ve got built-in fire-pits which can also function as coffee-tables or you’ve got more basic iron and steel bowls,” Matt says.

“We’ll especially see uptake in at the beginning of autumn as the cooler months begin to set in.”

Sunken outdoor lounge area with timber benches and outdoor cushions

Outdoor Retreats

“As more and more consumers see outdoor rooms on the market, they will likely become the perceived norm and the real estate market will have to respond to meet buyer demand,” Matt says.

“We’ll likely see more vendors installing outdoor room elements pre-sale to maximise sale price and also property developers installing them at the build stage.”

For additional inspo on taking your outdoor room to the next level, check this out.

Strip lighting under stairs in pool area backyard

Strip Lighting

“Strip lighting under steps, seats and bench tops creates an amazing feel and is becoming increasingly popular,” says Matt. “This will become even trendier in 2018 as a compliment to outdoor room elements.”

Outdoor kitchen with built in bbq area and sink

Cacti & Succulents

“Interesting succulents and cactus plants will continue to be really popular both indoors and outdoors,” Matt predicts. “The architectural structure they can provide to any garden is impressive.”

“Some of the larger varieties like Agave Americana and blue cactus are becoming really difficult to find in nurseries, so getting the signature piece for the garden can be a challenge.”


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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3 Responses

  1. Incredibly beautiful outdoor spaces! The space with the fire pit looks especially inviting. Wistfully, I look at these photos and long for an outdoor space like these! We are a middle class couple with a quite pretty and very well kept brick home in a neighborhood subdivision. We don’t have a third of the size of yard these homes have nor the financial means even if we did have the $$$. I would love if you did a feature on the outdoor spaces of smaller homes! Thanks for the share.

    1. Oh Judith I hear you loud and clear. I live in the same situation. Small front and back yards. Three townhouses on the block. Lemme work some magic on a post for you. Some small garden ideas would be awesome. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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