Outdoor Living: Extending Spaces

outdoor kitchen

Outdoor living is what Americans are focusing on in 2021. This is the common finding of three studies among American households. Garden Alive surveyed more than 980 respondents across the country. The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) 2021 Outdoor Trend Report Data surveyed 1,000 adult respondents nationwide from January 4 to 8, 2021. Fixr.com’s 2021 Trends for Outdoor Living Spaces report interviewed 48 home construction industry experts in the fields of building, renovation, and landscaping.

What Homeowners Do Outdoors

According to ICFA, 90 percent of Americans who have porches, decks, and patios use these more often and value them now more than before. Still, 88 percent of them expressed some dissatisfaction with the current outdoor spaces they have. Among them, 66 percent wanted a different style, 56 percent wanted more function, and 45 percent wanted more comfort. This is why renovations are still popular this year.

More than half or 53 percent of respondents said they relax outdoors, 49 percent grill food outdoors, 41 percent tend to their gardens, 39 percent play with their pets, 27 percent do workouts, 27 percent dine al fresco, 26 percent entertain others, and 21 percent play with their children.

In the Fixr.com study, 48 percent of the experts stated that homeowners prefer a porch and patio combination. This is followed by a porch and deck combination, a sunroom, a deck alone, a patio alone, and a porch alone. Eighty percent of the experts stated that homeowners hold gatherings with family and friends in their home outdoor spaces, 61 percent said they use these spaces to relax in, 46 percent said they use these spaces as children’s playgrounds, 24 percent said they cook outside, nine percent said they do their home-based work outside, and four percent said they exercise outside.

In the Gardens Alive study, the favorite outdoor area of respondents was the backyard, followed by the front yard, balcony, deck, and porch. A majority or 62.2 percent of respondents stated that they spent more time in their outdoor home spaces during the pandemic than before. Even more, 78.2 percent will continue to entertain guests in their outdoor areas this year as they did in 2020.

In addition, 19.7 percent of respondents use their home outdoor spaces for cooking; 12.6 percent use these spaces for swimming; 11.4 percent use these spaces for meditation, yoga, or massage; 11.4 percent use these spaces for gardens; 9.5 percent use these spaces to work from home; seven percent use these spaces for exercising, and 3.2 percent use these spaces as classrooms for distance learning of children.

While the percentages differ, it is obvious that there are many commonalities in how homeowners use their outdoor spaces. Grilling is one of the favorite activities, and homeowners would surely ensure that they have the replacement parts for Lynx grills when needed. This brings us to outdoor upgrades.

outdoor patio

Home Outdoor Upgrades

During the pandemic, 78 percent of respondents in the ICFA survey did upgrades on their outdoor home areas. Among them, 38 percent added trees, 29 percent expanded their gardens, 23 percent added new outdoor furniture, 18 percent put up a deck, and 18 percent put up a fence. This year, 58 percent of respondents intend to add more outdoor fixtures.

Among them, 52 percent are planning to upgrade their outdoor lighting, 51 percent are planning to buy a chaise or lounge, 49 percent are planning to put in a firepit, 42 percent are planning to buy an outdoor dining set, 35 percent planning to buy a grill, 25 percent planning to buy an umbrella, and 19 percent planning to buy an outdoor sofa.

In the Gardens Alive survey, 72 percent of respondents stated they would rather spend on home outdoor upgrades than vacations. Among them, 44 percent are willing to spend from $101 to $1,000, while 25 percent are willing to spend from $1,001 to $5,000.

The top three outdoor renovations were installing a pool for 15.59 percent of respondents, installing an outdoor kitchen or grill for 13.36 percent, and putting up a playground for 10.22 percent. What respondents consider to be the primary feature of their outdoor areas are flowers and greenery for 23.12 percent, the cooking area for 17.34 percent, and the seating area for 13.93 percent.

In the Fixr.com survey, 85 percent of the experts stated that during the pandemic, homeowners were more willing to spend on outdoor renovations than before. Creating outdoor kitchens is the top choice of homeowners for outdoor renovations. Other upgrades for outdoor spaces include outdoor heaters for 54 percent, outdoor fireplaces for 41 percent, fire pits for 27 percent, pergolas for 27 percent, outdoor lighting for 20 percent, and patio awnings for four percent.

Experts also told Fixr.com that the top three ways homeowners merge the outdoors with their indoors are through glass sliding or folding doors and windows for 74 percent, sliding or folding walls for 48 percent, and a sunroom for 20 percent.

Because the home outdoors are primarily for relaxation, and food is one of the universal sources of pleasure, we see people congregating around cooking and dining in their own yards. It has become an extension of the kitchen, dining room, and living room, all in one.




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