Outdoor living research: fire pits, decks among best-selling features

Professional Builder readers share their thoughts on the importance of outdoor living features in today’s home-buyer market

By David Barista, Editor-in-Chief, Professional Builder | March 11, 2012
Outdoor living research: fire pits, decks among best-selling features

Outdoor living remains one of the fastest-growing segments of residential construction. As homeowners look to extend living and entertainment spaces without greatly impacting budgets, more are choosing to build out formal outdoor spaces. Increasingly, buyers and homeowners are demanding more sophisticated features that can serve their needs year-round. This trend is evidenced by the growing popularity of outdoor-specific appliances, covered patios and decks, and fire pits/fireplaces. These are just some of the trends culled from our 2012 Outdoor Living Survey, the results of which are highlighted in the charts below.

Methodology and Respondent Information
This survey was distributed in January 2012 to 86,054 Professional Builder readers. No incentive was offered. By the closing date, a total of 237 eligible readers had responded. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 45.6 percent single-family home builder; 29.1 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 13.1 percent de- signer/architect; 2.1 percent systems builder; 2.1 percent multi-family builder; and 8.0 percent “other.”

In your opinion, what is the single biggest innovation or trend in outdoor living design today?
• “Providing for year-round use of even the smallest of outdoor spaces”
• “Appliances and electronics that can remain in the outdoor area throughout the winter months”
• “Herb and vegetable gardens” • “Blurring the line between indoors
and outdoors through the use of large openings with movable panels or screens”
• “Misting systems for comfort and/or insect control”
• “Elimination of decks in favor of patios”
• “Screened-in porch with an attached grilling deck”
• “Maintenance-free decks/pavers”
• “Covered patios”
• “Prewiring for TVs and sound”
• “Easy-to-convert screened porch into indoor living space”
• “Creation of an ‘environment,’ not just a few outdoor features”
• “Outdoor big-screen TV and sitting area”
• “Concrete color and design stamping”
• “Outdoor kitchens” • “LED lighting” • “Brick pizza ovens”
Year-round use, outdoor appliances, and screened or covered porches and patios are just a few of the new trends buyers are looking for in outdoor living areas.



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