Homeowners have always enjoyed their outdoor spaces. What was once simply a back patio or deck is now an entertainment area, where homeowners and their friends and families congregate to socialize, relax and recharge.
According to the American Institute of Architects’ Q2 2020 Home Design Trends Survey, consumers are increasingly interested in outdoor living areas and are looking for spaces that expand the functionality of their homes while seamlessly transitioning from the indoors to outdoors.
A survey conducted by LightStream showed that 41 percent of homeowners intend to improve their outdoor spaces – with patio, deck and landscaping projects topping the list. And, while homeowners thoroughly enjoy updated and enhanced outdoor living environments, few enjoy the time and effort it takes to maintain those spaces. A great way to alleviate this concern is to incorporate materials that require minimal upkeep.
The following are five elements that will transform an outdoor space to an area ideal for entertaining while keeping maintenance to a minimum.
Deck and Porch Railings. Deck and porch railings allow homeowners to add architectural interest to their homes along while also helping to maintain safety. Adding an attractive railing to a front porch or wraparound porch can significantly increase curb appeal. In addition, incorporating railings on decks and patios can turn an ordinary outdoor area into a statement-making space. Homeowners can choose from a growing number of railing infill solutions, including several recently introduced options that add design flexibility while reducing the need for maintenance.
A great option for adding some visual interest to a deck or patio is designer railing infill. Feeney’s DesignRail ® Panel Infill comes in a variety of materials and styles, including stainless steel wire mesh and laser-cut, powder-coated aluminum panels in an array of standard and custom colors. Both materials are long-lasting and resistant to challenging climates. The panels can be mixed-and-matched with other infill options such as horizontal or vertical cable railing, glass, and pickets to create a custom look.
Busy homeowners don’t want to spend time painting and staining their decks or maintaining railings. Composite decking that offers the look of wood without the need to worry about insects, rot, or fading is becoming increasingly popular, as are weather-resistant deck railings and infill.
A number of attractive, low maintenance deck railing options are available, including cable rail infill. With its modern, streamlined aesthetic, cable rail allows for unobstructed views while creating the appearance of a larger space. It can be paired with aluminum railings, which are available in a variety of colors along with realistic wood grain finishes for an organic look without the maintenance requirements.
Outdoor Kitchens. With more homeowners looking to entertain outside, outdoor kitchens continue to grow in popularity. According to a study by the Freedonia Group, by 2022, the number of U.S. homes that include an outdoor kitchen will increase to 3.9 million.
Many homeowners opt for outdoor kitchens with corrosion-resistant stainless steel cabinetry, which withstands the elements and requires only occasional cleaning. Outdoor kitchens are also available in colorful powder-coated finishes, offering even more protection and design flexibility.
Outdoor kitchen countertops come in a variety of materials, including natural stone, tile, and concrete. Known for its beauty and durability, natural stone is one of the most popular countertop options. Granite and soapstone are both heat- and stain-resistant and are easy to clean.
Landscaping. If given the choice, most homeowners would prefer to spend more time enjoying their outdoor spaces and less time mowing, trimming, and watering. Planting no-effort ground cover like New Zealand brass buttons or Scotch or Irish moss is a great way to reduce the time spent working in the yard. Adding elements such as pavers, mulch beds, and easy-to-care-for native plants around the border of a deck or porch area also streamline yard maintenance while adding color and creating visual interest. For even less upkeep, organic mulch such as wood chips or pine straw can be replaced with pea gravel or river rocks.
Container Gardens. Another way to achieve a no-fuss landscape is to add potted plants and container gardens to deck and patio areas. These versatile splashes of greenery not only bring a pop of vibrant color to outdoor living spaces, but can be moved easily when desired to make more room for entertaining. Plants can be switched out seasonally for an ever-changing gardenscape.
Trellises. For homeowners desiring a sense of privacy in their outdoor spaces, trellises made of wood or stainless-steel cable can be used to create a natural partition. They can be adorned with a variety of flowering vines and plants that grow well on vertical supports, including roses, clematis, grapevines, raspberries, and ivy.