Outdoor Trends for a Brilliant "Sitooterie" — These Ideas Will Make Backyard Seating Much Better

Sitooteries give your backyard a focus and a quiet space for reflection — here are the outdoor seating trends to watch

An outdoor sitting area with side table
(Image credit: Doublespace Photography. Design: REIGN Architects Inc)

The trend for sitooteries has come on leaps and bounds in the past year and we love the idea. Characterized as an outdoor seating area that offers a quiet space for reflection, often with a view or some kind of landscape focus, they help zone your backyard and bring an element of privacy while feeling grounded in nature. 'Whether you are already acquainted with the term or not, the sitooterie is the secret ingredient to transforming your outdoor space into a haven for relaxation or a cozy spot for social gatherings,' says Katherine Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat.

'It’s all about curating a place where you can reconnect and recharge,' adds David Thompson, principal and founder of Assembledge. But what are the sitooterie trends to look out for to make sure your outdoor seating area is in line with wider backyard trends?

1. Incorporating wooden elements

An outdoor space with laid-back furniture piece

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

Wood is one of those outdoor materials that seamlessly harmonizes with any outdoor space and blends with the surroundings, and why it's the perfect material for your on trend sitooterie. Incorporate wood into your seating area through the seats you choose or opt for an organic feeling bench. 'Bring lots of natural wood like teak to your sitooterie for that outdoor oasis aesthetic,' recommends designer Ellie Mroz. 'But you need to remember materials that will withstand the elements - we love natural woods, sealed marble, and indoor or outdoor fabrics,' says Ellie.

When it comes to outdoor furniture trends and wood, teak is our favorite option for the backyard. Its natural oily quality means that it can withstand any conditions and weather, and doesn't need to be frequently looked after.

Time and exposure to the elements create an aesthetically pleasing patina which only adds to its stylish look. A teak bench or pair of chairs might be all you need for a stylish sitooterie.

2. Adding on-trend lighting

A backyard with fairylights

(Image credit: Christian DuRocher. Design: Kate Anne Designs)

Lighting is an important component of your sitooterie, so what are the on-trend lights to bring your cozy seating area to life? Currentt modern garden lighting trends focus on playing with light and shadow to create dramatic moments and accentuate the sculptural elements of your backyard, so carve a corner of your sitooterie with lighting by adding carefully placed spotlights.

'We're seeing people adding outdoor lighting to a sitooterie which not only adds a level of warmth and charm to the space but also always for more comfortable usage after dark,' says Katherine Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. 'Overhead cafe string lights are a quick and easy way to add lighting to a sitooterie.

'Low voltage uplights nested throughout plantings also give a lovely ambiance to the space.'

3. Create a space with an air of privacy

An outdoor sitting area with side table

(Image credit: Doublespace Photography. Design: REIGN Architects Inc)

Privacy is a major element in making a sitooterie feel truly intimate and there are specific ways to bring that secluded feel that are more on trend than others. 'Dense plantings, strategically placed site walls or carefully crafted steps can all contribute to creating secluded yet inviting spaces that invite you to unwind,' says David Thompson, founder and principal of Assembledge.

Kat recommends bringing privacy to the space with stylish lattices. 'To help enclose the space, but still feel airy and light, I’m a big fan of using lattices as the walls of a sitooterie. They help create beautiful shadows and dappled light and can also be used to grow vines on for a “green wall” effect,' says Kat.

'My other favorite ways to add shade and privacy to a sitooterie are with pergolas (especially if a retractable awning is incorporated), shade sails, cantilever umbrellas, or with the addition of a covered structure such as a summer house,' adds Kat.

4. Don't overcomplicate and go for simple seating

A backyard bench

(Image credit: Lisa Romerein. Design: Susan Mitnick)

One of the key components of a sitooterie is having a place to sit and relax. 'Whether it’s hidden away or designed to capture a specific view, carving out cozy places to sit and be outdoors and with nature is essential to any landscape design,' adds Ian Starling of Emily Lindberg Design.

So what are the seating trends we're seeing take over our backyards as we head into spring 2024? We're seeing modern outdoor furniture that doesn't overcomplicate the area, and dedicated zones created out of a simple set of chairs might just be all you need.

Remember that the emphasis is on the view and carving out a moment for reflection and embracing the surrounding nature. 'Whether it’s a pair of Adirondack chairs, a soft sectional, or a classic bench, having a comfortable place to the most important thing,' says Kat.

In terms of trending colors, Oonagh Ryan from Ora Studio likes to keep things simple. 'We typically select furniture that's in harmony with the colors found in nature and find dark colors in particular, work really well,' she says. 'Your eye doesn't focus on the furniture, but the garden around you. Our top color choices are bronze or brown, black and charcoal.' White works too, but be careful when using white and be aware that dust and dirt will inevitably show up.

5. Explore diverse planting

An outdoor sitooterie

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher. Design: Ground Studio Landscape Architecture)

Lush and diverse plantings help enhance the feeling of escapism, explains Kat, and the more exotic the plant, the more likely your sitooterie is going to offer that transportive feeling.

'Lush plantings nearby create a feeling of seclusion is often desired with sitooteries and having some tall, lush plantings nearby will help to achieve that,' she says. Whether it’s a hedge of yew shrubs or ornamental grasses, or a cluster of trees, a barrier of plantings gives a beautiful effect and a feeling of being enveloped.'

It doesn't just stop at plants either, and you can create a more dynamic sitooterie by embracing a diverse range of ideas like landscaping with rocks. 'Try integrating dry gardens with artfully arranged sand and stones, scattered boulders or sculptural objects in the landscape and mixing different plants like wispy grasses with more angular succulents and cacti for a complete visual experience,' adds David.

3 on trend buys for your sitooterie

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.