According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “Outdoor living has been propelled to the top of homeowner wish lists and, subsequently, has become a top priority for architects and design professionals focused on residential design.”
NAHB also reports that “increased desire for more outdoor amenities is one of the key items driving new home design.” Indeed, Stacee Lynn, The Barndominium Lady, says that virtually all of her clients desire large outdoor living space in their design plans. This includes front, side, and back porches, sleeping porches, rooftop decks and lean-tos—many of which include outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. She said, “We’ve even designed some Barndos with as much or more covered porch square footage as heated and cooled interior square footage.”
The desire to live and entertain outdoors and to connect with nature is on the rise. NAHB reveals that both of these ranked high on the top 10 list of design drivers in “The Future of Home Design,” a recent survey conducted by the New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) in collaboration with Pro Builder. This desire for outdoor living has fueled the significant uptick in patios and porches in recent years.
“Of those surveyed, 58% said connection to the outdoors/nature will be an important influence on their design choices in the coming years, while 45% said outdoor entertaining will also receive increased attention. Following value and cost considerations, connection to the outdoors and nature was predicted to be the largest driver of home design choices over the next three years.” —The Future of Home Design study
The study results show a clear preference for covered porches and decks over open yards and more flexibility in how the homeowner might use their outdoor space. In fact, seventy-three percent (73%) said they prefer covered outdoor spaces to traditional yards. This longing to connect with the outdoors has stoked the desire for expansive windows, outdoor kitchens (68%) and fireplaces (73%), and gazebos or pergolas (44%). Rooftop decks are appearing as another way to enjoy the outdoors at home. This is a good alternative for those who live in more dense areas in the city or suburbs.
To be sure, the trend toward outdoor living is on the rise and the market is meeting the challenge with creative and inspirational designs and products.