A patio designed by Sparano + Mooney for a home in Glenwild features expansive mountain views and modern accents.

During the past year when we were at home more than ever before, our backyards, decks, and patios became our own private getaways, providing a much-needed connection to nature and a change of scenery from the couch or kitchen table. And as we spent more time alfresco, many of us dove headfirst into yard work, plotted new projects, and tended to our gardens with renewed gusto.

“We have definitely seen an increased interest in developing and improving the outdoor spaces of our clients’ homes in the last year,” says Anne G. Mooney of Sparano + Mooney Architecture. “These spaces extend living and working zones and provide alternatives to home offices, entertaining areas, and even spaces for online learning or meetings.”

We asked Mooney and other local home pros to share recent trends and decor ideas for optimizing outdoor living spaces to best enjoy the season ahead.

Large retractable glass doors create a seamless transition for indoor-outdoor living in this home by Sparano + Mooney.

Views for Days

“Capturing views has a lot of impact on the quality of an outdoor space,” says Mooney. Consider the view from where your patio furniture is currently positioned, and make adjustments for a more pleasant vantage point, if possible. Or if you’re starting from the ground up, take note of where to best orient your outdoor living zone.

Modern patio furniture lends style to an outdoor space in Glenwild.

Get Grilling

“Outdoor kitchens and grilling spaces have always been hot, but these areas are getting more emphasis,” notes Nick Knight, president of Douglas Knight Construction. Pellet grills by Utah-based Traeger are popular, and Knight has clients who are kicking things up a notch by adding smokers and pizza ovens to the mix.

Fire Starters

One of the best ways to create ambience is with a fire feature. Knight notes that custom concrete fire pits are especially popular. Jayson King of Landform Design Group says elements such as fire slits, fire walls, and fire pits can also help prolong the use of your outdoor space in colder seasons.

Pops of color complement the Utah landscape at this space in Thaynes Canyon.

Dive In

Hot tubs have always been popular in Park City, but Knight has noticed a renewed interest in swimming pools—he just finished a local abode that features a “spool,” a smaller pool with spa-like features, a smart option if space or budgets are limited. King agrees that pools are making a splash: “There’s a lot more desire for creating your own vacation area right at home,” he says.

Heat Things Up

According to Knight, there have been more requests for outdoor heaters from his clients in Park City. These recessed infrared heaters not only keep chills at bay on cool summer nights, but also extend the life of your patio or deck into the late fall and winter. Knight has also installed sleek glass shields for wind in places like Promontory, where gusty conditions can be a concern.

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