(BPT) – A year into the pandemic and cabin fever has set in. The typical isolation and restlessness has many people looking for ways to update their homes to provide a sense of comfort and connection to the outdoors. The goal is to create a safe, calm oasis at home, drawing inspiration from biophilic designs, which means enhancements that focus on a human’s innate attraction to nature.

Outdoor projects are flourishing as people extend their living spaces to feel closer to their natural surroundings. Check out these top backyard renovations for 2021:

Water elements

There’s something serene about listening to the ocean waves or a bubbling brook, and people are bringing this feeling home by incorporating water elements into their outdoor spaces. The stress-reducing effect of listening to water is welcome during the many demands of the pandemic, plus water elements add to the outdoor aesthetic and beautify the space. Something as simple as a solar-powered fountain can work this magic, but many people are investing more money into permanent structures, such as garden streams, ponds and pondless waterfalls.

Full outdoor kitchens

Eating al fresco is wonderful for sharing meals, but cooking al fresco takes outdoor living to a whole new level. Outdoor kitchens are trending, with many people customizing patio spaces with a grill, hearth or pizza oven, refrigerator and even a sink thanks to above-floor plumbing solutions like the Sanivite drain pump from Saniflo. Typically for proper drainage, you would need conventional, below-floor plumbing, but above-the-floor options like Saniflo’s reliable drain pumps make it possible to add a sink and more where no drainage currently exists. After a full outdoor kitchen is established, people are rounding out these spaces with a dining table and even lounge chairs for conversing and making memories at home.

Functional landscaping

People are striving for thoughtful landscape designs that keep in mind their needs and the needs of the environment. For example, shade elements provide comfort, privacy and sound control, allowing spaces to be used for gathering or for work and study. Sustainable gardens are another good example, with people wanting the ability to produce herbs, vegetables and fruits at home. Beyond the garden plot, this includes container gardens, raised-bed gardens and integrating edibles into landscaping. People are enjoying the ability to get creative and exercise their green thumb.

Outdoor bathrooms

For people who have a pool, spa or detached workout space, having an outdoor bathroom can be a huge plus. However, it can also be costly and time-consuming to create one separate from the main home using conventional plumbing methods. Saniflo’s Sanicompact offers an alternative that requires no breaking up concrete or excavation to install expensive below-floor drainage. This self-contained macerating toilet is ideal for small spaces like a cabana or changing room where you’d also like to have a toilet. Plus, the dual-flush system saves water, which can help manage utility bills and support the environment. Learn more at www.saniflo.com.

Private, personalized outdoor rooms

With a bit of creativity and a strategic approach, people are creating outdoor “rooms” on their properties that are mini-escapes alongside Mother Nature. This might include creating a meditative garden in the corner of the yard, a yoga space for daily practice next to the patio, or a pathway that leads to a backyard bench that serves as a reading retreat. Hardscaping such as rocks and stone is often used to define these spaces while trees, shrubs and vines are used to add privacy. Homeowners are even incorporating their personal tastes into these spaces with sculpture, glass art or other garden decor.

The pandemic has had an undeniable influence on architectural, building and remodeling trends, with outdoor projects popular nationwide. These top projects reflect the human desire for connection to the natural world and to find comfort in outdoor-living opportunities.