Outdoor Living Spaces – An Emerging Standard?
As the US housing market remains depressed and tightened lending practices by financial institutions have rendered the credit markets all but frozen, new home starts in the United States continue a dramatic decline (down approximately 68% and 58%, respectively, from levels realized during the 2006 and 2007 housing boom). As bleak as the news may sound, the current circumstance has prompted an emerging trend among homeowners…the expansion of existing living areas, and more specifically in outdoor living spaces. Properties from the high-end custom estate home to the speculative tract home are now being outfitted with the essential outdoor living features. The stone patio of the past is no longer complete until incorporates a masonry fireplace as its focal point, or until it serves as the foundation for an outdoor kitchen and bar area with a completed roof or pergola overhead.
The range in style preferences with respect to outdoor living is vast. As result, the home-and-hearth and outdoor living industries have responded with newer products that are durable, comfortable, beautiful and functional enough to literally create an indoor living space outdoors. From pavers, patios and furniture to stone, water and fire features, there is essentially no limitation to the space that a creative eye and a bank account can create.
Whether the homeowner’s intent is to boast another status symbol by constructing a fully efficient outdoor bar and grill or the weekend barbeque’r just needs an excuse to stay outside in the cold for one more adult beverage, the proper outdoor living space is essential. And because it can be customized to fit any style, preference, or budget, I anticipate that interest in outdoor living expansion will continue into the foreseeable future, and that the outdoor living space will become a required aspect of any homes worth living in…or out of.