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Hot Tubs, Fire Pits, Heated Patios -- Oh My! 4 Outdoor Improvement Trends to Watch for this Fall

sponsored September 27, 2021

Because of the pandemic, fewer people are traveling for vacation: according to a recent Ally survey, 88% of respondents say they plan to make improvements to make their homes more staycation ready. Moreover, many Americans are moving to the suburbs, migrating to warmer states, and looking to make their own yards better places to spend time in every day.

With staycation on the brain, many homeowners are looking to winterize or improve their outdoor spaces this fall. But they may not have considered all of their options -- enter home improvement professionals! We encourage you to talk trends with clients when exploring outdoor home improvement project ideas.

Preparing for fall trends

Outdoor spaces are one of the hottest spots to remodel in 2021. Homeowners spent the last year and half waiting for material costs to decrease -- leading to pent up demand. So, you can expect a slew of homeowner inquiries as the supply chain begins to stabilize. How can you prepare? Devise a list of the ways you can bring indoor conveniences outdoors. Whether it be innovative technology, multipurpose add-ons, or structures that allow homeowners to be outside longer and more often -- what can your business do to make a homeowner's backyard paradise come true? Preparation and planning on your end, before a homeowner approaches you, is key to delivering projects efficiently.

Creating outdoor living “rooms”

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association Design Trends 2021 survey findings, interest in overall outdoor living projects increased by 65% since 2020. 

Outdoor kitchens are just one of those popular ticket items. Fittingly, they were the top project, with 76% of respondents planning to use an outdoor space to cook up some culinary delights for friends and family. And food remained a common theme with edible gardens. It’s a natural fit, with millions of people picking up gardening as a hobby during the pandemic to supplement pantries with homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs. 

Semi-enclosed spaces and all-season upgrades are two more trends to watch. Covid encouraged homeowners to get more year-round usage from their outdoor living areas. There is a definite blending between the indoor and outdoor. FIXR, an online home remodeling guide, found that 74% of home improvement experts believed clients would hope to achieve this through folding and sliding doors and windows.

From the same FIXR survey, homeowners plan to adapt around 48% of their outdoor spaces to year-round use with features and products that extend the outdoor living season. Think fireplaces, fire pits, heaters, hot tubs, upgraded seating, and weather protection. It’s all about taking advantage of the space clients already have, even as cooler temperatures arrive. 

Giving the yard the VIP treatment

In the wake of Covid, two divergent trends emerged for the front and backyard. In the backyard, privacy became king. The disruption drove homeowners outside for an escape to exercise, meditate, rest, or recuperate. This trend includes larger, private backyard spaces, sheltered side yards, careful window placement, and covered patios. A mix of landscaping, hardscaping, and furniture can deliver that protection. Also, consider drapery panels, plant walls, and umbrellas to give your customers the privacy they desire. 

A recent feature in Better Homes & Gardens identifies front yards as the newest home “addition.” They were typically just for curb appeal; now, residents are looking to maximize the space. The pandemic changed social lives, and many people are looking to connect with their neighbors and communities. In 2020, front yards hosted drive-by parties and socially distanced gatherings; now, homeowners want to stay connected. A “social” front yard is much simpler than a backyard design. Home improvements from a cozy table and chairs, a tree swing, or a comfy bench can give life to an area previously empty or passed through. 

Bringing technology outdoors

According to NKBA, for Millennials, integrated entertainment ranked above kitchen amenities for their outdoor living spaces. As homeowners are bringing the outdoors into everyday living, they’re also hoping to bring indoor convenience outdoors. 

More people are working from home than ever before, and streaming continues its rise, so they’re adding boosters to amplify Wi-Fi signals outdoors. Customers want to create entirely new mixed-use spaces with enhanced, multicolor exterior lighting, TVs, and outdoor speakers for outdoor home offices and theaters. 

Making it happen

Perennial favorites like patios, decks, and porches will also remain in high demand as homeowners continue to think all-season when it comes to upgrading their spaces, but these upgrades can be costly. The Home Improvement Research Institute’s most recent figures find the average price tag is $5,029. And in many cases, costs exceed expectations (36%). Most customers don’t budget accordingly, with 51% feeling that the costs exceeded their expectations. 

The HIRI survey also found that nearly half of homeowners (49%) rely on out-of-pocket, cash, and checking as the primary source of money for outdoor home improvement projects like patio, decks, and porch projects. What’s more telling? Because of the high cost, some depend on savings accounts (22%).

Budget-wise, it’s clear that outdoor home improvement projects can stretch some homeowners  pretty thin. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Options such as home improvement financing from Ally Lending can be a big help, both for your clients and your own bottom line. Offering clients pay-over-time, flexible solutions make their outdoor improvements an achievable, obtainable reality.

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