Exclusive Research: Outdoor Living

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The building community reports on the growing popularity of bringing the indoors outside.

This circular, sunken fire pit and seating area fronts a 38-foot long covered patio at a Trilogy at Vistancia residence in Peoria, Ariz. Builder: Shea Homes, Scottsdale, Ariz. Architect: Bassenian Lagoni, Newport Beach, Calif. (Photo: Mark Boisclair)

April 11, 2016

Outdoor living has come a long way from just a stark concrete slab with lawn chairs and a barbecue grill. Decks and patios are more elaborate, as color and material choices proliferate. Manufacturers are making more products that are maintenance-free and able to weather all climates, so today’s homebuyer can select from a roster of products that includes appliances, high-definition TVs, LED lighting on deck railings, water features, fire bowls, and even pizza ovens.

The movement to bring the indoors out has transformed backyards and side yards into outdoor kitchens for cooking and dining, and outdoor living rooms for relaxing and entertaining. 

Outdoor living spaces were twice named the most popular special function room in the 2015 and 2014 design trends surveys of homeowners by the American Institute of Architects. Two-thirds of Professional Builder readers and members of Builder Partnerships, in Littleton, Colo., who participated in the Outdoor Living poll, indicated that the space is more critical to selling a new home compared with three years ago, and 54 percent stated that they either have added or are considering expanding the outdoor options they offer their clients. More outdoor living insights from the building community are provided in the charts that follow.

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