- Two-thirds of homeowners who are improving their outdoor spaces expect to spend more time outside, and just more than half say that they will entertain guests more often.
- As in 2017, fire pits are projected to be the most popular outdoor design amenity this year, cited by 66 percent of landscaping professionals.
- Of all outdoor home-improvement projects, adding native and drought-tolerant plants is expected to see the most demand in 2018.
With the official beginning of summer just a couple of weeks away, the high season for backyard barbecues and pool parties will soon arrive, and a significant number of American homeowners are upgrading their outdoor spaces with entertaining guests in mind.
An April survey from Houzz found that 51 percent of homeowners who are currently improving some aspect of their outdoor spaces or have recently done so will spend more time throwing parties than they did before the renovations. An even greater number of homeowners — 67 percent — say that they will spend more time outdoors after the improvements are complete.
So what kinds of outdoor landscaping and design projects are homeowners keen on in 2018? A separate survey from the American Society of Landscape Architects found that for the second straight year, fire pits and fireplaces are projected to be the most popular outdoor design element, cited by 66 percent of landscaping professionals. Fire pits also surfaced in Houzz’s poll, in which nearly 40 percent of homeowners said that they had or were planning to invest in that amenity.
Seating, nearly imperative for a good outdoor party, also ranked high in both surveys. Houzz found that 43 percent of homeowners were upgrading their outdoor spaces with plenty of lounge furniture, while about 60 percent of professionals surveyed by ASLA pointed to seating and dining areas and outdoor furniture as amenities they expect their clients to want.
And of course, what’s a backyard barbecue without a place to cook outside? Nearly 60 percent of ASLA professionals think that homeowners will install outdoor kitchens, and exactly 50 percent say that grills will be in high demand.
While entertaining guests is a primary motivator for improving a home’s outdoor space, basic aesthetics and curb appeal still best all other concerns. The top three projects expected to see the highest demand this year are adding native and drought-tolerant plants and low-maintenance landscapes, cited by roughly eight in 10 landscaping professionals.
Finally, don’t forget man’s best friend: Nearly 70 percent of ASLA professionals project that their clients will request an outdoor recreation area for their dogs, making it the most popular recreation-related improvement.