Trends in home design change year by year. Advances in technology give homeowners more remodeling options for a fraction of what the cost would have been in the past. Because of this, luxury features are increasing in popularity. According to Forbes, outdoor living spaces are one of the features on which homeowners are spending their money.
Kitchens and entertainment
A survey conducted by The American Society of Landscape Architects showed kitchen and entertainment spaces were given top ratings with a popularity of 94.5 percent. Many of these outdoor kitchens function like an indoor one. Sophisticated gas grills are placed in stone and brick built-in counters. Homeowners are adding sinks, miniature refrigerators and storage. This isn’t the old charcoal grill you remember from family reunions. Luxury outdoor kitchens are just that: luxurious.
The reason homeowners are spending money to build outdoor kitchens is so they can use them to entertain. Rather than keep guests indoors for celebrations, hosts are inviting them outside. Outdoor kitchens bring the familiarity and comfort of the indoors outside. Many residents choose to install their home kitchen in covered outdoor spaces. For example, verandas provide shade over the cooking area. Verandas can also be outfitted with retractable screens to keep bugs out of dining areas.
Homeowners aren’t just building grand outdoor kitchens to enjoy, they are also spending money on gardening and landscaping. Of those who responded to the survey, about 94 percent believed that gardens were popular among homeowners. According to a survey conducted by the Garden Writers Association, residents spend the most money on lawns and grass, followed by produce gardens, then perennial plants. Overall spending on gardening has remained relatively consistent over the last 3 years.
The ASLA survey found that Americans prefer outdoor features that require very little maintenance. Native plants were popular with about 86 percent of respondents, as they are easier to care for. Foreign plants require much more attention as they are outside of their natural environment. Approximately 83 percent of respondents believed that produce was rising in popularity. Homeowners used vegetable, fruit and herb gardens to supplement their grocery shopping lists. While vegetable gardening requires more attention than certain other types of gardens, the yield of edible plants creates ease in other areas of life, such as shopping. Those residents with both an outdoor kitchen and vegetable gardens were able to pick food from their yard and use it immediately in a meal they were cooking outside.
Outdoor recreation and leisure
Recreation amenities were given a popularity rating of about 76 percent. This included features such as pools, sports courts and spas. “In this uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards,” Nancy Somerville, ASLA executive vice president and CEO, said in the report.
The addition of recreation amenities in the yard is certainly one way to enjoy the outdoors. Homeowners are also turning their covered decks into screened-in porches to relax outside. Closing in a space with retractable screens blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living. Residents can enjoy natural ventilation from breezes that blow through the screens without the negatives – such as bugs – that come from being outside.
Screened-in porches also have more privacy than an open patio space. For example, Phantom’s motorized retractable screens have a privacy mesh option that features a thicker weave to obscure the view from wandering eyes. Homeowners also outfit their screened-in porches with indoor furniture. Because the furniture is in a covered space, the elements aren’t as destructive. While wind comes through, rain can’t ruin an upholstered sofa. Some residents choose to build outdoor fireplaces – which had a popularity rate of 97 percent – in their covered porch. Between the roaring fire and comfortable decor, the covered porch is acting as the new living room.