Evolving Outdoor Living Environments: Trends, Requests, and More The past year has shown a substantial shift in demand for suburban residences and an uptick in home renovation projects, resulting in homeowners reevaluating their home spaces in 2021. Through a virtual panel discussion organized by New England Home Connecticut Magazine, home design and real estate professionals were brought together to discuss the effects the pandemic has had on the industry along with the innovative trends for the future of home design. In this blog, we’ll hear from the following contributors and discuss outdoor living environments and how they’ve evolved. Moderator Tyra Dellacroce | Connecticut Stone Panelist Tara Vincenta | Artemis Landscape Architects Functional outdoor living spaces have been a must-have item for many homeowners in recent years. However, as people are spending more time at home than ever before, the importance of these outdoor retreats has become even more evident. In many ways, outdoor environments have an impact on how we safely entertain and interact with family members in a world shaped by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As a result, outdoor design specialists are beginning to see some interesting trends and requests from homeowners — especially as clients in harsher climates look for ways to extend the use of their outdoor spaces well into the cold winter months. Trends in Outdoor Heating In frigid climates, being able to get even an extra month or two out of an outdoor deck or patio space can make all the difference. And with people trying to extend their time outdoors, many homeowners are now turning to design specialists for help incorporating new heating elements into their existing patios, decks, and other outdoor entertainment spaces. According to Tara Vincenta of Artemis Landscape Architects, “Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are both becoming increasingly common requests.” She explains how homeowners are even having both of these fixtures installed to provide two separate entertainment areas. Adults can gather around an outdoor fireplace while teens can enjoy spending time around a fire pit while socially distancing. For more convenience, Tara explains that many homeowners are also looking to add outdoor heat lamps to their existing patio and deck spaces. This type of outdoor heating does not require the laborious task of gathering and burning wood. Instead, gas-powered patio heaters can be flipped on with a simple switch to provide heat and comfort for hours, even in cool temperatures. These heaters can even be placed inside screened porches (which also seem to be making a comeback) to extend the use of these spaces well into the winter months and to allow for earlier “re-opening” of these spaces come springtime. Another heating element designers are seeing more demand for is heated terraces. With this type of feature, snow can be melted off the ground almost as quickly as it falls. Tara further explains how this saves homeowners the time and hassle of shoveling snow off of surfaces. In turn, making it easier for them to simply enjoy their outdoor entertainment spaces. Moving Outdoor Pools and Spas Indoors Finally, designers are also reporting that clients are requesting to have their spa and pool equipment moved indoors to extend their use. Depending on the budget and space available, it is possible to turn a summertime pool or spa into a year-round retreat. Of course, the key here is making sure the equipment is properly enclosed and insulated to prevent the freezing of pipes and other components. By enjoying these kinds of spaces year-round, clients can have their own retreat from the confines of their homes even in the dead of winter. And of course, having access to a pool all year is a great way to stay healthy and stay in shape during a season when it can be otherwise difficult to keep active. Outdoor Design Trends: The Bottom Line As more people begin to understand the true value of having functional and tailored outdoor living spaces, we’ll undoubtedly begin to see new trends emerge. For now, however, designers and professionals in the field anticipate that homeowners will continue looking for ways to extend the use of their spaces well into the cooler winter months. Plus, with convenient fixtures like outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and heat lamps, the possibilities for these spaces are becoming endless! Looking to add a fireplace or fire pit to your backyard? Or perhaps you’re looking to refresh your pool or spa area. Reach out to a Connecticut Stone expert today to get started.