The pandemic made it clear: we all want outdoor living space. We don’t just want to walk to the park, we want to cook outdoors, relax outdoors, gather with friends and family outdoors, exercise outdoors and some people even want to work outdoors. And, we want that outdoor space to be part of our home. In other words, the yard is the bomb.
A new report from Fixr.com shows that, in 2021, American homeowners want to make the most of every inch of that precious yard. 48 top experts in the home construction industry were asked a series of open-ended and multiple-choice questions; their answers are tabulated in the following findings. Percentages were rounded.
85% of experts agree that homeowners are more willing to invest in outdoor living spaces than before the pandemic. When asked about the willingness of homeowners to invest in their outdoor living spaces, many responded that their clients are more willing now than they were before the start of the pandemic. Many people put off vacations and travel, choosing to spend the time at home instead. This, in turn, put a bigger focus on the living areas. With a better yard or outdoor living space, homeowners may find more enjoyment at home than they did previously.
Outdoor living areas will be bigger than before the pandemic, according to 63% of construction experts. People who are building right now may be remembering the previous summer and how much time was spent at home, when backyards became part of regular daily life, as well as the place for more activities than usual. The recent emphasis on outdoor living has brought about an added importance to outside space. Planning for a larger outdoor living space going forward also gives homeowners more flexibility in how they’ll spend their time there or how they’ll finish the space.
The most popular configuration of the various kinds of outdoor spaces? A combination of patio and porch, 48% of experts responded. This is followed by a distant 19% feeling that a porch and a deck is the right move.
With a porch and a patio, homeowners get a range of different benefits. Porches can help improve the curb appeal of a home and also provide a place to gather and entertain, regardless of the weather. Patios are more private. At ground level, they’re also more accessible to the rest of the yard and to the house itself. They have the option of being covered, which allows them to be used during rainy or cooler days. Combined, they give a lot of options to choose from.
We love the flexibility of indoor-outdoor living spaces, and folding and sliding doors and windows are the most popular technique for connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, according to 74% of experts surveyed. 48% feel that using glass walls that can fold and slide is also the right answer. This added open space continues the relaxing vibes in a way a wall or standard door would not. The openness also creates a sense of bigger space for those with limited outdoor areas.
Indoor-outdoor space is ideal for people in warm and moderate climates because this type of space can be used nearly all year round. It allows homeowners to move seamlessly from the indoor living room to the outdoor living room. This means more flexibility in how to spend time, entertain, or simply gather with family. It also makes it easier to pack up and move between spaces depending on the whims of the weather.
When it comes to additions to existing outdoor living space, outdoor kitchens top the list. 61% of respondents answering that the outdoor kitchen is the most popular. Outdoor kitchens were already very popular last year, but with a renewed interest in cooking and outdoor spaces, they have gained a lot more popularity. Outdoor kitchens allow for many different designs and layouts and the choice of appliances that best suit individual needs.
Coming in second place with 59% of the votes is a fire pit, which is a great focal point throughout the whole year. In third place is shading, with 41% of experts opting for this option. Covered patios may be a good choice for many homeowners – they can have shade, space for an outdoor kitchen, and often, a fire pit as well. A patio cover will add privacy and protect those outdoor features from the elements while adding comfort to gathering spaces on hot summer days.
Homeowners most commonly use their outdoor living spaces to gather with friends and family, according to 80% of the experts polled. 61% also feel that relaxation is high on the list, while 46% feel that it should be a place for kids to play. Since indoor gatherings have been difficult this past year, outdoor gatherings in a backyard have become many people’s first choice for things to do. This is true for both adults and kids, so by including numerous gathering areas and activities, it makes it easier for whole families to get together and relax more safely in one space.
When the weather turns colder, 54% of experts say that the way to stay warm outdoors is to add an outdoor heater to the yard. 41% say that adding an outdoor fireplace can be the right way to go. 27% also feel that both covered outdoor living spaces and fire pits are the right answers. Each of these methods can be influenced by the type of space, the amount of room available, and how the space is used. Because outdoor heaters are portable, they make a good choice for those that may want to move them back out of the yard when it warms up. Covers can also be a good choice for keeping the sun off in the summer, while fireplaces and fire pits can make great gathering places for parties.