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Outdoor Living: Essential Upgrades During the Pandemic

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Expansive green spaces have always been part of the American dream, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in demand for outdoor living. Forbes reported that the coronavirus crisis led many homeowners to expand and improve their outdoor spaces and amenities. This is no surprise as private backyards provided a welcome respite for people holed up at home.

Having a space to stretch, unwind, breathe fresh air, and bond with the family beyond the four corners of the house became essential for both physical and mental health. And with this surge in demand comes new consumer trends, ranging from small aesthetic upgrades to major additions like pools and decks.

So if you’re curious to know what homeowners are doing with their outdoor space to inspire you, check out these popular outdoor living trends for 2021:

Aesthetic and functional upgrades

To make an outdoor living just as comfortable as indoor living, homeowners spent a lot on aesthetic and functional upgrades. These upgrades range from pergolas and protection systems for gutters to brand new furniture, accessories, and fixtures. These major upgrades have allowed cooped-up homeowners to consider their outdoor area a comfortable and relaxing space to do all sorts of things.

Enhanced seating

Outdoor comfort has been a top priority for homeowners. Since families use their outdoor space for year-round gatherings, they have put their money on expanded and upgraded seating. This includes outdoor sofas, lounge chairs, benches, swings, and dining tables and chairs.

Outdoor kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are perhaps the most popular trend during the pandemic. A National Kitchen & Bath Association survey showed that 76 percent of homeowners planning their outdoor areas said an outdoor kitchen is their top priority. Outdoor kitchens allowed people to invite relatives living nearby and have intimate gatherings in a relatively safe environment. Plus, these upgrades became quite useful for homeowners in hot, subtropical regions as persistent indoor cooking would’ve driven their energy bills.

Patios and decks

In the same National Kitchen & Bath Association survey, 54 percent of responders said they plan to upgrade their patios and decks, while 31 percent planned to build three-season rooms like screened porches. This only shows that homeowners are looking for more year-round usage of their outdoor spaces, a trend that will likely continue even after the pandemic ends.

Fireplaces and fire pits

As mentioned above, outdoor comfort has been a top buying influence, as evidenced by the growing demand for fireplaces and fire pits. These additions make outdoor spaces functional, comfortable at night, and relatively safe for those planning to gather. They also made outdoor spaces warmer, more inviting, and appealing for kids or those who enjoy camping. These upgrades have made backyard camping and S’mores possible for kids dealing with cabin fever.

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Integrated entertainment

Entertainment systems like outdoor sound systems, flat-screen TVs, and projector screens have become increasingly popular since the onset of the pandemic, especially among millennials. Smart features like automated light fixtures, smart speakers, and Wi-Fi sockets have become major purchases for younger adults.

Privacy and greenery

Most gyms and fitness centers had to close during the pandemic, so people turned to their outdoor spaces to stay active and meditate. And to create a space that was conducive to these activities, privacy upgrades and foliage were necessary. For this reason, many homeowners spent money on privacy fences and landscaping and gardening products.

Pools, hot tubs, and outdoor showers

Relaxing beach and resort getaways ground to a halt during the pandemic, but that didn’t stop people who loved the water from getting the next best experience. Reuters reported that the demand for pools, hot tubs, and outdoor showers skyrocketed during the pandemic, with the biggest driver being families with children. It’s become people’s way of beating the heat and getting that much-needed hydrotherapy even while stuck at home.

Backyard cottages

The pandemic has undoubtedly made people’s world smaller. That’s why any option to expand or build new spaces was a welcome idea. Backyard cottages or granny flats have been quite popular, mostly as a temporary home for adult children or older relatives, but also as additional functional space. These functions could range from outdoor man caves, spare bedrooms, work-from-home home offices, study areas, meditation, or fitness gyms.

Creating meaningful outdoor spaces has become a priority for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extended quarantines and shifting priorities have also influenced people to stockpile their cash or divert it into things that will improve their home life. So it’s no surprise that families looked to their backyards and lawns as these were the next best things to going out.

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