The popularity of outdoor living spaces has been growing for years.
A 2014 study from the home remodeling and design platform Houzz found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining. Similarly, nearly 60 percent of architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects in 2016 said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built.
Outdoor living spaces may also be sound investments for homeowners looking to improve the resale value of their properties. According to Remodeling magazine's 2017 "Cost vs. Value" report, outdoor living spaces returned between 55 and 71 percent of homeowners' initial investments at resale.
To make the most of the space while simultaneously hoping to get as strong a return on their investments as possible, homeowners should look to create spaces that offer broad appeal and are not too personalized. The following are some popular outdoor living space features homeowners may want to consider.
Outdoor kitchens allow homeowners to prepare more than just traditional backyard barbecue fare. A standalone charcoal grill in the backyard might get the job done, but a built-in gas grill complete with burners and surrounding granite countertop makes for a more functional outdoor entertaining space.
Indoor entertaining areas often include bars, so it makes sense that homeowners want to include a place to prepare and serve beverages to their guests. Homeowners with room in their budgets may want to install wet bars where they can rinse mixers, glasses and other items needed to prepare drinks for their guests.
Features that can keep homeowners and their guests warm after the sun sets include outdoor fireplaces and firepits. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that fireplaces and firepits were the most popular outdoor design element in 2016. Such features can provide a focal point in the backyard while also extending the outdoor living season into autumn and even early winter.
Outdoor living spaces are often found in the backyard, but homeowners with bigger front yards than backyards may want to expand or open their porch spaces to create more space outside. Porch swings and rocking chairs provide a great place to relax, and porch spaces are covered, meaning homeowners can continue to enjoy time outside even when it begins to rain.