Outdoor living spaces have always been a wow factor for homebuyers, but with last year’s need to get creative with our space at home, there has been a surge in demand for spaces beyond the house walls. According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, outdoor furniture sales are outpacing all other furniture sales throughout the country. Top home remodels include covered patios and decks. The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports a 65% uptick in interest among its membership in outdoor living projects this year. There is no question outdoor living is in high demand.
Will the demand fizzle out once the pandemic finally subsides? Not likely. Homeowners were already interested in expanding to the outdoors pre-pandemic. A survey from Houzz users back in 2014 showed 25% of homeowners were planning to remodel their homes to include more outdoor living and that demand has only grown since.
Here are 5 outdoor living tech trends to spark “out-of-the-house” thinking for builders looking to tap into this market.
Hanging out on the patio has a whole new look—with many opting for covered patios that look more like living rooms than backyard hangouts. Weather resistant TV’s hang over beautiful outdoor fireplaces with full surround sound, creating a great spot to watch movies or catch the game. Outdoor heating can extend the season including recessed infrared systems that take the chill out for late season comfort.
Simpler pergolas give a sense of privacy and luxury when outfitted with fire features and outdoor speakers that connect to the homeowner’s perfect personal playlist.
Outdoor Kitchens and Bars
Just like the kitchen has become the center of home entertainment, the demand for the same feel outside has been a climbing trend. It’s not just your typical guy playing grill master, either. Full cooking setups complete with counters, stove tops and pizza ovens allow for the foodie to entertain in style. Bar or island set ups allow for guests to comfortably sit chat with the chef.
Outdoor Water Features
Water features bring calming ambience to backyard living. They are beautiful to look at and are a good way to cancel out distracting sounds in tighter neighborhoods.
Pools have always provided a great spot to hang out, but for smaller yards, “spools” are the latest trend. A cross between a large spa and a small pool, spools take up a lot less space than a traditional pool, are easier to maintain and are more affordable to install whether inground or above ground. These small pools have powerful jets that allow for easy lap swimming or massage.
The Outdoor Office
With more companies allowing their workers the freedom and work-life balance of work-from-home options, homeowners are not just opting for an extra indoor room to work. Outdoor working solutions are on the rise, including WIFI access ports and shading systems for those who want to move outside in nice weather.
For those who need more work/home separation, some homeowners are taking the concept of “she-sheds” and “granny-pods” and opting for detached office spaces—having power and heat installed and extending WIFI. This lets them shut the door on their workday and makes their commute a mere stroll across the yard.
Extend the hours past sunset with outdoor lighting. New LED options allow for greater control including automatic settings, custom created for the homeowner’s use. Strips can be added around a bar or patio area and can be colored for ambiance and mood. Path lighting can be used to direct guests to different areas of the yard for parties and help mark property boundaries. Planning for outdoor spaces and getting landscape lighting experts involved early can help builders save money, allowing for special cuts in patios and walls to account for lighting needs.
Homebuilders should be planning for outdoor spaces to differentiate, drive sales, and increase market value. Technology can help make these spaces flexible, extend their seasonal use, and really bring the “WOW factor” for homebuyers looking to maximize their property use with outdoor living.