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No matter the season or region, outdoor living is the hottest area in home improvement. Here are six of the top trends that will influence the look, feel and function of this year’s outdoor spaces.

Outdoor rooms
Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, furnishings and accessories, you can outfit an outdoor living space in much the same way that you would any room in the house. As a result, expect to see decks with features such as integrated benches with upholstered cushions, privacy walls and ornamental post caps and railings with decorative balusters, similar to those found inside the home.

Railings that rule
When it comes to selecting the best railing for your outdoor space, design experts recommend using one of the “Three C’s”– coordinate, contrast or customize. To make the selection process even easier, Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing, recently introduced a set of curated railings that pair beautifully with the brand’s most popular decking colors.

Cooking with class
Americans have taken backyard cooking and dining to a whole new level. Heading into the outdoor living season, expect this trend to continue with increasingly functional outdoor kitchens complete with cooking islands, pizza ovens, refrigerators and all-weather cabinetry and storage features.

High-tech decks
Home automation is hugely popular right now, so it’s only natural that the tech trend should migrate outdoors. From lighting and music controlled from a smart phone, to motorized rear-projection screens synced to outdoor LED televisions, homeowners are now able to bring their entire entertainment system outdoors.

Leisure without the labor
For those that want to spend more time enjoying, rather than maintaining, their outdoor space, high-performance composite decking, such as Trex Transcend, is an ideal choice –delivering all the beauty and aesthetics of wood without the time-consuming upkeep. Unlike wood, composite decking resists fading, staining, scratching and mold – and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter.

For more outdoor living tips and ideas, visit trex.com.