Homeowners Head to the Great Outdoors

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

  • Date:

    July 23, 2014

Homeowners Head to the Great Outdoors



Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

With home sales finally on the rise in most parts of the country, homeowners are making investments they can enjoy now that will also pay off when they decide to sell.

Many are heading outdoors.

This year, more than two-thirds of homeowners are planning outdoor projects with median budgets of $1,000 (Zillow). Builders, outdoor landscape architects, retailers and remodeling pros are responding by offering innovative, design-focused solutions.

One universal theme involves creating an inviting and livable outdoor space by bringing interior decorating concepts outdoors.

Outdoor furniture retailers are seeing notable increases in “indoor” styles. Upholstered sofas, furniture that’s closer to the floor (called “chat-height”) and furniture featuring deeper cushions combine to create a relaxed, comfortable vibe for homeowners and their families and guests. Rustic touches like aged woods, distressed finishes and raw linen provide warmth and authenticity (Decoist).

Color palettes are broadening in terms of accents, accessories and even lighting, all while maintaining the forever-popular neutral base. Imagine fully upholstered outdoor furniture in light gray paired with colorful scatter cushions and vibrant accessories in cayenne, marigold and tonal blues, all complemented with jewel-tone lanterns featuring LED alternate lighting (Garden Media Group).

Builders and designers are observing new enthusiasm around customization; the outdoor space is becoming an expression of the homeowner’s personality, with items like terrariums, unique wall art, outdoor showers and outdoor chandeliers adding interest. People spend money on these items because they’re one of a kind, “signature” things that make the space theirs.

Lighting is also enjoying increased homeowner interest. Over 90 percent of homeowners considering an outdoor remodeling project view lighting as somewhat or very much in demand. Along with programmable LED and low-voltage lighting systems, homeowners are using artisan lights, brightly colored Chinese lanterns or sheer globe lights. People in search of a soft, romantic ambiance are employing accent colors, underwater lighting and indirect lighting to create a resort-like feel in their backyards (CoreLogic, ASLA).

Outdoor entertaining continues to be a prime driver for outdoor remodels. Homeowners increasingly want to bring the entire entertaining experience outdoors; many are installing full kitchens including a bar, fridge, oven and even multiple grills. Have you been invited to a “braai” yet? If not, you will; the open-grill technique that originated in South Africa is trending throughout the U.S.

Homeowners want to spend time enjoying their outdoor improvements, so they’re also minimizing maintenance. According to surveys, the most popular landscape and garden elements for 2014 include low-maintenance landscapes that use native and drought-tolerant plants and space-saving container gardens and wall planters. More than 75 percent of respondents want vegetable and/or herb gardens including built-in irrigation (Country Living, ASLA).

The focus on low maintenance isn’t just self-serving; it also translates to a higher return on investment. “Homeowners know that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values,” said Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects. “They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish, easy-to-maintain and earth friendly” (Landscape Management).

It’s no surprise. While outdoor trends are ever-changing, homeowners’ motivations stay the same – outdoor spaces that maximize enjoyment, are easy to maintain and will boost home values. Simple!