Outdoor Living: Bringing the Indoors Outside

According to HGTV, the No. 1 outdoor home trend of 2017 was the concept of bringing the indoors outside—and we see no signs of a slowdown this coming spring and summer. With the introduction and desire for outdoor kitchens, rugs, couches, ottomans, tables, and cozy blankets and pillows, the most prominent home trend of 2018 will continue to be outdoor living—the seamless transition from your home to your outdoor space.

Outdoor Living

According to a 2017 Architect Magazine article, outdoor living spaces continued to be the most popular “special function room” for the sixth consecutive year. Six in 10 architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built, and the survey also noted that 69 percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping.

Why Outdoor Living Spaces are Trending

One of the initial reasons for the rise of outdoor living spaces was the 2008 financial crisis. More and more Americans were opting to stay home for vacation to save money—and the word “staycation” became a part of our everyday vocabulary and lifestyle.

Outdoor Living

But today, the trend is just as popular, extending beyond economic reasons. According to the most recent Houzz Spring Landscaping Trends Study, there are several motivations for homeowners to invest in their outdoor living space. Among the most popular reasons are the following: 56 percent of homeowners choose to update their backyard to make it more entertainment friendly; 44 percent desire to make their yard more functional; 34 percent wish to increase home value and resale value; and 27 percent want to create more living space.

In fact, according to Remodeling.com’s “2017 Cost Vs. Value” report, outdoor living areas continue to produce a sizable return on a homeowner’s investment. Cost recouping for patios and decks range from 55 percent to 71 percent—on par with bathroom remodels, additions, and replacing roofs and exterior siding.

What Outdoor Living Enhancements & Additions are Popular?

The Houzz study revealed that backyards were undergoing several different kinds of additions and improvements: 83 percent were being transformed into primarily outdoor entertaining spaces, 73 percent focused on becoming outdoor eating spaces, and 53 percent were being remodeled into outdoor living rooms.  

Outdoor Living

How do these spaces come to life? By adding an array of features! Sixty-nine percent of homeowners chose to add patios to enhance their outdoor living space; 38 percent choose to add a deck; 48 percent decided to include barbeques and/or fire pits for added ambiance and functionality; 19 percent added sound systems; and 14 percent built outdoor kitchens.

We’re expecting even more of a rise in fire features—including permanent custom-built fire pits and portable tabletop fire pits—in 2018.

A Spotlight on Landscape Lighting

For evening entertaining, safety, security, and the ability for your clients—and their guests—to adore their backyard, professional landscape lighting is a must. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2015 trends study ranked landscape lighting the second most popular design element of the year. The Houzz study similarly revealed that seven in 10 homeowners install lights to illuminate their hardscape. And, of these homeowners, 58 percent of them go green with LED.

Outdoor Living

Additionally, seven in 10 homeowners taking on landscape lighting projects are lighting their deck or patio; five in 10 are using lighting around paths and trees/shrubs, and a third are lighting steps.

The Effects of the Outdoor Living Trend

One direct effect of the outdoor living trend is the boom of the hardscape Industry. The demand for hardscape products—boulders, edging, and pavers—in the U.S. is expected to increase nearly 6 percent each year, making hardscaping a $3.5 billion industry by 2021, according to a recent study by The Freedonia Group.

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A surge in landscape lighting product sales is also expected. The Freedonia Group study projects a 3.4 percent growth year-after-year through 2021.

Sadly, these numbers are truly representative of what’s going on in the industry: Homeowners spend a fortune on creating unbelievable outdoor living experiences, but then forget to budget landscape lighting. This is a huge oversight that needs to be addressed at the onset of any major backyard project. Homeowners spend a great deal of money transforming their property into amazing outdoor living spaces, but then they aren’t as safe as they could be due to lack of lighting; they also aren’t used to their fullest potential or shown off as much as they should due to poor lighting.

Our advice is to include landscape lighting design into your budget. Making this investment on your outdoor living investment will only increase the value of your home and your outdoor experience as a whole! Enjoy all the hard work you put into your place!