The demand for outdoor living space that emerged during the pandemic (and even before) remains on trend. Homeowners are increasingly looking to the outdoors to extend their home’s footprint while creating places to relax, entertain, and so much more.
In a report released in December, Zillow noted that functional outdoor space is the most sought-after feature in for-sale homes in 2023. “The humble backyard, once overshadowed by chef’s kitchens and walk-in closets, is the new luxury for today’s home buyers,” the company said. “Backyards are now highlighted in 1 out of every 5 Zillow listing descriptions. Mentions of patios and pools also surged, up by more than 13% and 11%, respectively, in 2022.”
Similarly, in the American Institute of Architects’ most recent Home Design Trends Survey on Home Exteriors, a whopping 74% of architects indicated that popularity of outdoor living spaces among homeowners is increasing.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest outdoor living trends and how to accommodate them.
Functional, indoor-like spaces: With more focus on the outdoor space, creating separation between functions is increasingly popular. Areas for dining, sitting, or quiet relaxation are separate and appointed with appropriate amenities. Outdoor rugs can create visual designation, as can multiple levels or incorporating different colors and patterns of composite decking to frame an area or create an aesthetic separation. Furniture with the look and comfort level of interior options furthers the feel.
Sophisticated features: With growing popularity comes new ways to use the outdoor space. Along with mainstays like decks, patios, and hot tubs, homeowners aren’t afraid to appoint their spaces to meet their unique usage needs and hobbies. This may include swim spas, smaller but more practical plunge pools, pizza ovens, a dedicated yoga space, sound systems, and more.
Fireplaces and fire pits: An increasing number of options for size, style, and fuel type has given homeowners the flexibility to add the ambience and season-extending benefits of outdoor fires, no matter the size of their deck or their budget. From a soaring stone fireplace to a simple Solo stove, there are few obstacles to adding a fireplace to nearly any outdoor space. Kindred™ Outdoors + Surrounds, part of the Westlake Royal Building Products portfolio, offers a range of outdoor fireplace options, including elegant fire bowls in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Comfort products: A direct result of the pandemic and a need for safer gathering outdoors is the desire to use outdoor spaces well into the colder months and throughout a sweltering summer. Along with more standard propane-fueled heat lamps, a growing number of infrared heating options is available in decorative and built-in styles. Similarly, ceiling fans are essential for creating airflow during the summer. Also consider screened-in areas and sun-blocking canopies or pergolas.
Pergolas: Indeed, “Requests for pergolas are on the rise,” Design Builders, Inc. recently told us. “Pergolas work well next to pools or as shade for an outdoor kitchen. With a pergola, you can install heating elements or a ceiling fan for comfort through all seasons. Pergolas are a good alternative to a gazebo in regions where you can’t get the roof zoned as well.”
Blended indoor-outdoor space: The outdoor living trend toward blurring the lines from indoors to out continues unabated. Panelized opening glass walls and coordinating flooring and decking help create the illusion and truly connect the two zones to maximize physical and visual space.
Gardens: Gardens have always been a thing for outdoor spaces, of course, but increased flexibility has opened up the hobby to a greater number of homeowners and even apartment renters. Raised planter beds, small herb gardens, and even lettuce grow towers allow homeowners to source some of their own food, which is a growing concern among some consumers, without the space or commitment required for a full vegetable garden.
Work from home space: For the many homeowners still working remote, spring means an opportunity to take their laptops outside and soak up some vitamin D while still getting their jobs done. Comfortable seating and overhangs or other sun barriers, along with great WiFi access, are critical to making this happen.
Inspired by these outdoor living trends? Learn more about Zuri Premium Decking and browse our idea gallery here.