Outdoor living space: 2021 trends

The pandemic has made it clear: we all want outdoor living space. We don’t just want to walk to the park, we want to cook outside, relax outside, gather with our friends and family outside, exercise outside and some people even want to work outside. 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 owners want to make the most of every inch of that precious yard. Forty-eight leading home building industry experts answered a series of open-ended, multiple-choice questions; their responses are presented in the following results. Percentages have been rounded.

85% of experts agree that homeowners are more willing to invest in outdoor living spaces than before the pandemic. Asked about homeowners’ willingness to invest in their outdoor living spaces, many said their customers are more willing now than they were before the pandemic began. Many people put off vacations and travel, choosing to spend time at home instead. This, in turn, put more emphasis on the living spaces. With a better yard or outdoor living space, homeowners can find more enjoyment at home than before.

Outdoor living spaces will be bigger than before the pandemic, according to 63% of construction experts. People building now may remember the summer before and the time spent at home, when backyards became part of everyday life, as well as the place for more activities than usually. The recent emphasis on outdoor living has given added importance to outdoor space. Planning a larger outdoor living space in the future also gives homeowners more flexibility in how they will spend their time there or how they will finish the space.

The most popular configuration of the different types of outdoor spaces? A combination of patio and porch, 48% of experts answered. This is followed by a distant 19% who think a porch and deck is the right decision.

With a porch and patio, homeowners enjoy a range of different benefits. Porches can help improve a home’s curb appeal and also provide a place to gather and entertain, whatever the weather. Patios are more private. At ground level, they are also more accessible to the rest of the yard and the house itself. They have the option of being covered, allowing them to be used on rainy or cooler days. Combined, they give plenty 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% believe that using glass walls that can bend and slide is also the right answer. This extra open space extends the relaxing ambiance in a way that a standard wall or door would not. The openness also creates a sense of larger space for those with limited outdoor spaces.

Indoor-outdoor space is ideal for people living in warm and moderate climates, as this type of space can be used almost year-round. It allows owners to seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor living. That means more flexibility in how you spend time, have fun, or just get together as a family. It also makes it easy to store and move between spaces depending on the vagaries of the weather.

When it comes to additions to the 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 grown in popularity. Outdoor kitchens allow for many different designs and layouts and the choice of appliances that best suit individual needs.

Coming in second with 59% of the votes is a fireplace, which is a great focal point throughout the year. Shading takes third place, with 41% of experts opting for this option. Covered patios can 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 these outdoor features from the elements while adding comfort to gathering spaces on hot summer days.

Homeowners most often use their outdoor living spaces to gather with friends and family, according to 80% of experts surveyed. 61% also believe relaxation is high on the list, while 46% believe it should be a place where children can play. Since indoor gatherings have been tough over the past year, outdoor gatherings in a yard have become many people’s first choice for activities to do. This is true for adults and children alike, so by including plenty of gathering areas and activities, it’s easier for entire families to get together and relax safely in one space.

When the weather turns cold, 54% of experts say the way to stay warm outside is to add an outdoor heater to the yard. 41% say adding an outdoor fireplace can be the right solution. 27% also think 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 space available, and how the space is used. Because outdoor heaters are portable, they are a good choice for those who want to remove them from the yard when it warms up. Blankets can also be a good choice for sun protection in the summer, while fireplaces and fire pits can make great gathering places for parties.