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What’s In for the Outdoors This Year

outdoor living deckThe lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces are becoming more and more blurred. These days, you can take almost any modern indoor convenience outside with you, from stereo systems to refrigerators. But have you ever wondered just how many homeowners are taking advantage of these features when they build a new deck or patio?

The American Society of Landscape Architects recently recently asked more than 180 residential landscape architects to rate a list of outdoor living elements according to popularity. Not surprisingly, more than 94% rated outdoor living spaces such as kitchens or entertainment areas as popular for 2010.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Grills are naturally an overwhelmingly popular element for outdoor kitchens and other living spaces, but not as popular as dining and seating areas (95.6%). Other top kitchen features include a fire pit or fireplace, lighting, and installed seating such as benches. Stereo systems ranked in the middle of the list (57.2%), and only about half the architects surveyed felt refrigerators and sinks were popular. High-priced luxuries such as wireless internet, outdoor heaters, fans and televisions sank to the bottom of the list, probably due at least in part to the economy.
  • When it comes to yard structures, arbors were ranked as the most popular element (87.2%), with water features such as fountains and splash pools coming in second and pergolas, decks and fences following close behind. This wasn’t surprising, as arbors and pergolas have exploded in popularity recently and have attracted tons of attention this year at home and garden shows. Read more about incorporating a pergola into your landscape.
  • Low-maintenance and sustainable landscaping practices are also in this year, from water-efficient or drip irrigation (85.2%) to using native drought-tolerant plants to reducing the amount of lawn space. Installing a low-maintenance composite deck made from recycled materials is a popular way to replace lawn space; you’ll maximize your usable outdoor living space and minimize mowing, watering and other lawn maintenance. Read more about planning an eco-friendly deck.

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