Blue skies, crackling fires, fresh air, exquisite style. There is a new awareness on the forefront of design: Outdoor Living provides homeowners a fresh new way to personalize and utilize their spaces. By extending their living space outdoors, homeowners are not only able to accomplish an expansion of their usable living space but also an increase in their quality of life.
Architects, real estate investors, landscape architects and interior designers alike are all seeing this new concept in the way homeowners are living. Recent Home Design Trends surveys conducted by AIA have confirmed the rapidly growing trend toward outdoor living. In 2007, 63% percent of the respondents, a panel of 500 residential architecture firms, see outdoor living as a trend that is growing in popularity. These findings are consistent with this survey in 2006 and show a significant increase from 2005 numbers. In support of the added attention to the outdoors, more than half of the respondents report that utilizing space to blend indoor and outdoor living is increasing in popularity. Taking living spaces outdoors is not only the fastest growing trend in these industries, but also a reflection on a shift in lifestyle and consumer attitudes.
Stemming from an unsteady market, growing concerns over homeownership affordability for low- and moderate-income households have also encouraged others to rethink their housing space needs. In the high-end and luxury markets, attention and investment is now being devoted to enhancing individual properties. Homeowners are accomplishing this by redirecting their focus on how their spaces are being used by extending the living portion of their properties outdoors.
Consumers have also increased their interest in eco-friendly architecture which is encouraging builders to incorporate outdoor spaces with the overall home design. The yard and garden become a part of the floor plan when disappearing walls or sliding glass doors lead to patios and decks. These outdoor "rooms" can be anything from kitchens with sinks and grills to intimate and relaxing gathering places. Interior Design themes of color scheme, focal points, balance and context have now become tools for creating an outdoor environment.
Manufacturers are also getting in on the concept. The “Green” movement has drawn attention towards products that are typically associated with outdoor furnishings. By incorporating outstanding quality with well thought-out functionality and superb materials, the standard of outdoor furniture is noticeably increasing and also being correspondingly given a "Longlife" design by its creators. Specifically, the increasingly popular teak wood, which has long been known as a durable yet eco-friendly material is currently being given new life by mixing it with other material.
Enjoying a renaissance, outdoor living is not an entirely new concept. Man's desire to harmonize with nature has repeated itself throughout our history. Ancient Roman villa gardens were often used for outdoor dining, and European gardens of every type have mimicked architectural and design trends since the 1600s. In recent years, outdoor living has grown in popularity for good reason. Being outside in our own private space offers us a chance to relax and regroup from our hectic lives. After all, what could be more refreshing than enjoying blue skies, fresh air and remarkable design all from the comfort of your own backyard!