5 Patio Trends That Are on Their Way Out, According to a Real Estate Agent

updated Jul 6, 2022
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Ah, summer. It’s arguably the best time to stretch out on the patio and soak up some sun. And nothing makes a home for sale — or an apartment for rent — more appealing than a well-designed patio.

At a time when outdoor space is highly sought after, it’s imperative to ensure your patio is looking its best ahead of a sale. Before you put your home on the market, consider ditching these five outdated patio trends and embracing a chic and modern mini getaway.

An Abundance of Potted Plants

When you walk onto your patio, you don’t necessarily want to feel like you’re walking into a jungle — or like you have to cut your way through plant growth just to get to the chairs. Hayley Westhoff, a Compass real estate agent in Chicago, suggests keeping the potted plants to a minimum.

“People overdo it with the potted plants,” she says. “Unless they’re really decorative pots, too many potted plants can look cluttered. The pots should be decorative and in sync with each other. Sometimes I’m doing a listing and they have a million pots in all different colors and it looks cluttered.”

What can you do instead? Stage your patio into sections so you have a place dedicated to greenery (tall grasses are most popular right now). If you want to be surrounded by leafy goodness, lay down some turf rather than overwhelming the space with plants.

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Wood-Burning Fire Pits

Wood-burning anything can be a real pain. Not only do you have to find logs or chop wood yourself, you need to struggle with lighting it and keeping it lit, and regularly clean out the ash. Luckily, Westhoff says, wood-burning fire pits for patios are out. Gas is the best option — it’s cleaner and easier. She adds that it should be built in; if you can spare the cash, having built-ins in any form is great for creating a more functional space.

Rounded Furniture

When people go out onto a patio now, they want it to be an oasis, a place that mentally takes you far from home while staying close to the door. One way to accomplish that? Getting the right furniture.

“Everybody really likes the contemporary hotel feel,” Westhoff says. “Rounded furniture is going out and square modular furniture is coming in.”

You can also accomplish this by adding a pergola or outdoor cabana to your patio with a television inside, shielded from the sun with outdoor curtains or retractable awnings. Westhoff calls it the “Miami vibe,” and it’s incredibly popular right now.

Itty Bitty String Lights

Edison bulbs, every hipster restaurateur’s favorite lighting choice, are still in — and will likely always have some appeal. That’s particularly true for patios, Westhoff says. The trend of smaller bulbs, like Christmas lights or fairy lights, has passed us all by. Ditch those smaller string lights and opt for a bigger, more exposed style. It’s not only attractive, but it also pumps out a more diffused light to make for a subtle, relaxed environment.

A Shabby-Chic Flea Market Vibe

The mismatched feel of flea market decorating is out, Westhoff says. Instead of having a ton of things that find beauty in chaos, follow a pattern or theme to sleekly tie everything on your patio together.

“Pick a couple colors and stick to it,” she said. “Sometimes you walk out there and there’s a million things going on. [Matching] wicker furniture with big pops of color are in. People are doing navy blue cushions, burnt orange cushions, a chartreuse color — just really bold colors.”

That also means you should tuck away excess decorations.

“Outdoor decor beyond your patio furniture and plants is clutter,” Westhoff says.