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5 outdoor living trends that will upgrade your home in 2023

5 outdoor living trends that will upgrade your home in 2023
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Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular as people seek to maximize their living area and enjoy the outdoors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic changed how Americans use their homes for daily living, relaxation, and entertainment,” said Dr. Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. “Homeowners have embraced their outdoor spaces — transforming them into oases with pools, patios, plants, and greenery. These outdoor features are embraced by the homeowner and can also attract buyers if the owner wants to sell.” -quote from a study by the National Association of Realtors.

With the rise in remote work and the desire for a better work-life balance, the demand for functional and attractive outdoor spaces is higher than ever.  Research, both correlational and experimental, has demonstrated the cognitive advantages of interacting with nature, a subject investigated by psychologist Marc Berman, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago and his student Kathryn Schertz in a 2019 Current Directions in Psychological Science review. Adults living in public housing in areas with greater green space exhibited enhanced attentional functioning compared to residents with limited access to natural surroundings. Studies have revealed that exposure to natural settings boosts working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control.

In this Doorstead article, we'll explore five outdoor living trends that can upgrade your home in 2023, supported by data points and practical tips to incorporate into your home immediately.

1. Multi-functional Outdoor Spaces

Creating versatile outdoor spaces catering to various activities, such as dining, lounging, and exercising, can significantly increase the appeal of your home, Airbnb, or rental property. According to a survey by the American Institute of Architects, 74% of architects reported increased demand for outdoor living spaces in 2021 and continues to increase over the last 12 months. They found that blended indoor and outdoor spaces topped the list for design trends in recent years. The key is to brainstorm how to make the transition from indoors to outdoors as seamless as possible.

Tips for creating multi-functional outdoor spaces:

  • Include comfortable seating areas for relaxation and socializing.
  • Designate a dining area with a table and chairs.
  • Consider adding an outdoor workout space with weather-resistant fitness equipment.

2. Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainable landscaping is a growing trend in outdoor design. Sustainable landscaping practices, such as xeriscaping and native plantings, can help reduce water consumption, decrease maintenance costs, and promote biodiversity. Sustainable landscaping can also add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your property when done well. According to National Geographic, xeriscaped landscapes can reduce water use by 50-75% compared to traditional lawns, saving homeowners time, money, and water resources.

Tips for implementing sustainable landscaping:

  • Choose native plants that are adapted to your local climate and require less water.
  • Incorporate permeable paving materials to reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Utilize rainwater harvesting systems to irrigate your landscape.

3. Outdoor Kitchens and Cooking Areas

Outdoor kitchens and cooking areas can elevate the outdoor living experience by providing a space for entertaining and enjoying al fresco meals. Outdoor kitchens and cooking areas are a growing trend in outdoor living, providing tenants with the convenience and enjoyment of cooking and entertaining outdoors. Outdoor kitchens can be customized to fit your space and budget, including features like built-in grills, sinks, refrigerators, and even pizza ovens.

Outdoor cooking areas can be as simple or as elaborate as possible, from a small charcoal grill to a full outdoor kitchen with all the amenities. The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association found that in 2022, 80% of all homeowners and 70% of all households in the U.S. own at least a grill or a smoker, which is at an all-time high and illustrates the popularity of outdoor cooking. The same study found that grills are used for various reasons, including flavor, lifestyle, entertainment, convenience, and hobby.

Tips for creating outdoor kitchens:

  • Invest in a high-quality grill and cooking station.
  • Include weather-resistant countertops and storage solutions.
  • Consider adding a built-in refrigerator or beverage cooler for convenience.

Consider the layout of your outdoor space when planning an outdoor kitchen or cooking area. You'll want to ensure that the area is easily accessible from the indoor kitchen or dining areas and is well-lit for evening cooking and entertaining. You may also consider adding a pergola or awning to provide shade and protection from the elements.  Adding an outdoor cooking area can be a great way to increase the memories made in your home while also adding value to your property.

4. Cozy Fire Features

Fire pits, fireplaces, and other features can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for outdoor living spaces. Fire pits and fireplaces are a popular addition to outdoor living spaces, providing warmth and ambiance for evening gatherings. Add a gas or wood-burning fire pit or fireplace to your outdoor space to create a cozy atmosphere that family and friends can gather around any time of year.

Tips for incorporating fire features:

  • Choose a fire feature that complements your outdoor living space's size and style.
  • Ensure that the fire feature is installed safely and adheres to local regulations.
  • Consider adding seating around the fire feature for comfort and ambiance.

5. Smart Outdoor Lighting

Smart outdoor lighting can also provide added safety and security for your home. Smart outdoor lighting is a growing trend in outdoor living, providing tenants with the convenience and safety of automated lighting control.  Motion-activated lighting can deter intruders and provide added visibility, while programmable lighting can give the appearance of someone being home even when the property is vacant.

When planning a smart outdoor lighting system for your rental property, consider the layout of your outdoor space and the type of lighting that will be most useful. For example, if you have a large backyard or outdoor seating area, you may want to consider adding programmable lighting that can be set to turn on and off at specific times or be controlled through a smartphone app. If you have a long driveway or walkway, motion-activated lighting can help provide added safety and security,

Customized outdoor lighting can easily enhance the aesthetics and ambiance of your outdoor space. Consider adding ambient lighting to create a cozy atmosphere or task lighting to highlight specific areas like walkways, seating areas, or outdoor kitchens.

Tips for implementing smart outdoor lighting:

  • Use energy-efficient LED lights for your outdoor spaces.
  • Incorporate motion sensors and timers to optimize energy usage.
  • Consider integrating smart lighting with a home automation system for seamless control.

Outdoor lighting is a simple but effective way to enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. Smart lighting systems can be easily controlled through a smartphone app, allowing tenants to turn lights on and off, dim them, and even change the color or temperature of the lighting. Read about seven other trending smart home technologies we’ll see more of in 2023 and beyond.

For more information on outdoor living trends and inspiration when brainstorming your next outdoor renovation project, consider exploring the following resources:

Garden Design Magazine: A digital and print magazine focused on garden design and outdoor living trends, featuring expert tips, design ideas, and inspiring projects.

Houzz: A popular home design and remodeling platform that offers a wealth of outdoor living inspiration with thousands of photos, articles, and design ideas.

The Outdoor Room Company: A resource for outdoor living design and products featuring articles on the latest trends, design ideas, and product recommendations.

American Society of Landscape Architects: The professional association for landscape architects in the United States offers resources, news, and design inspiration for creating functional and sustainable outdoor spaces.

By embracing these outdoor living trends in 2023, you can upgrade your home and create an appealing, functional, and sustainable outdoor space that can be loved and used for years.

Doorstead is committed to helping property managers, homeowners, and renters stay informed about the latest industry trends and innovations to maximize their properties. Did you enjoy this article? Please share with friends and family, and visit our blog for more resources.

Ally Gong
Ally Gong
Content Specialist

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