These days, homeowners want their outdoor spaces to match the look and feel of their indoor décor – including comfort levels.
As little as a decade ago, most homes’ outdoor spaces consisted of an outdoor grill, a dining table and some lounge chairs. Now, outdoor spaces have become an extension of homes, and outside has become the new inside, especially in Florida’s backyards.
Homeowners want their outdoor spaces to match the look and feel of their indoor décor including comfort levels. However, furniture fitting the bill needs to be able to withstand outdoor elements. The use of resin wicker continues to be popular as an all-weather material manufactured predominantly for use in outdoor patio furniture. It is meant to look like natural wicker, but is made of a synthetic material, generally polyethylene.
“Resin wicker is still a strong category for deep seating. The styles have moved to a more contemporary or transitional style over the classic wicker styles,” said Les Lewis of American Patio & Fireplace. “The recycled products Envirowood or HDEP (high density polyethylene) have seen huge growth over the last couple of years, and I expect this to continue for a few more years.”
Formal outdoor dining areas are declining as people turn more to living spaces. For most, that means spaces with ample seating and entertainment areas.
“Homeowners are turning their outdoor spaces into outdoor living spaces,” Lewis said. “We are seeing fewer dining tables and more sitting areas with deep seating, televisions, fireplaces and, of course, outdoor kitchens.”
According to “Today’s Homeowner,” the installations of a more full-functioning outdoor kitchen is a popular way to entertain outside without making numerous trips in and out of the house. Grills, range hoods, sinks, refrigerators and other cooking appliances can be easily combined outdoors and used annually.
In addition to kitchens, patio fireplaces and fire pits continue to be popular. In fact, designers say fire pits are inexpensive ways for homeowners with small outdoor spaces or budgets to entertain guests outdoors. Fire tables or pits blend in with the patio while creating a cozier feel.
For design, linear and vertical spaces are on the rise. Empire linear (long and horizontal) fireplaces are extremely popular outdoors, Lewis said. These fireplaces provide an adjustable scale for different spaces and can be tailored to traditional or contemporary décor and come in a variety of sizes – 48-inch, 60-inch and 72-inch single-sided, and 48-inch see-through.
In addition, vertical gardens have become an attractive option that maximizes available space for homeowners to grow their own vegetables and herbs at home. Designers suggest installing vertical structures such as arbors, arches, pergolas and gazebos to create an outdoor garden room.
With food and drink comes entertainment, and that means hosting the big game or movie at your home. It’s important for consumers to be aware of what kinds of technology they are placing outside.
“Televisions specially designed to be outdoors are more affordable than ever, and we recommend a television and other audio and visual components that are designed to withstand the elements of Florida weather,” said Chance Navarre, Senior AV Integration Specialist at Electronics World in Gainesville.
The outdoors is more than just a patio. Curb appeal is a strong part of an outdoor look and feel for a home. A finely manicured lawn is not the only way a homeowner can increase the attractiveness of their home. Some trends that show no sign of disappearing are vintage and farmhouse touches including planters and birdcages as well as floral displays such as containers, window boxes and hanging baskets.
Great landscaping also includes revamping a sidewalk with long panels accented by horizontal insets that integrates with shrubs, trees and plants. With curb appeal, nighttime matters too. Landscape lighting is used to highlight important fixtures of the home like large trees, bushes and other architectural elements of the home.