It’s no surprise that 90 percent of homeowners use their outdoor spaces more now and have been since the pandemic started. So many of the remodeling trends for 2022 involve renovations and upgrades to the surrounding grounds.

Particularly the patio. Once a humble little patch of brick or concrete, it’s now evolving into a full-fledged al fresco living space. Here are five new ideas for patios that can help you explore the possibilities.

Turn the patio into a warm retreat

Three-quarters (74%) of U.S. households use their patios for relaxation, according to a 2021 survey for the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA). And what can be more relaxing than sitting around a fire? To that end, add a fire pit.

Though fire pits’ popularity has been raging for a few years now, the latest thing is one that doesn’t smoke. “The new smokeless fire pits use the science of secondary combustion to burn off the majority of the smoke particles produced when burning wood,” states Lauren Tingley, owner of the home-ideas blog Simply Well Balanced. “This process prevents many of the problems associated with regular backyard fire pits: 1) huge wafts of smoke and 2) the strong smell.”

Many landscape contractors (the go-to professional if you want to install a customized, permanent fire pit) are also seeing an uptick in seating walls to ring the fire pit — freestanding blocks of stone (traditionally) with a flat top that sit a few feet off the ground.

Make it a party patio

One-third of the respondents in the ICFA Outdoor Trend Report wanted to use their patios for serious entertaining. “Build around your BBQ to create an outdoor kitchen,” recommends Justin Syens, a realtor for Oakwyn Realty Ltd. “It’s not as expensive as it looks and is a total mentionable feature in resale.”

The most elaborate kitchens…

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