Adding outdoor amenities to living space has been increasingly popular for several years. The demand for outdoor living space is especially strong for millennials and baby boomers, and driving innovations for both renters and home owners.
As communities continue to address the public health concerns of COVID-19, studies have indicated that outdoor transmission is rare — making outdoor amenities an important consideration for people seeking respite from the coronavirus.
Health, Wellness and Fresh Air at Home
With the coronavirus dampening travel plans for many, private outdoor living options offer an optimal combination of nature and fresh air without fears of unwanted social contact. Residents enjoy multiple benefits from enhancements to outdoor living space. Some of the many advantages include:
- More opportunities for relaxation and exercise. Pastimes such as gardening, walking and enjoying nature have gained an increased value for many during a time when sporting events, community fairs and other large gatherings have been reduced, postponed or cancelled.
- Improving wellness, reducing stress and improving mood. Outdoor living improves biophilia, which describes how people feel good when they are connected to nature.
- Greater connections to neighbors and communities. Porches, patios, decks and similar spaces offer compatible, socially distant options to see people and visit with friends.
- Resale value for home owners. Investing in outdoor amenities not only adds to personal enjoyment, but are desirable features that often increase home value, too.
- Attracting and retaining renters. Ample outdoor space is likely to be a key attraction for multifamily properties, possibly even more so than using the space to build larger units.
The Shape of Things to Come
The design of homes, community spaces and cities have long been influenced by public health and efforts to minimize the risk of infectious disease. So what will outdoor living spaces look like in a post-pandemic future?
- Healthy buildings: More rooftop terraces, balconies and courtyards to help improve health through the built environment. These features also add to private outdoor space, allowing residents to enjoy fresh air without anxiety about virus transmission.
- Zoning updates: Communities may revise restrictive zoning laws that can set maximum size limits for private outdoor spaces in multifamily buildings, or discourage developers from building functional balconies.
- A hot market for outdoor furniture, grills and outdoor fireplaces: Putting an emphasis on the living — and eating — outdoors, demand for outdoor products is forecast to expand 3.8% annually to nearly $12 billion in 2024 according to The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based research firm.
While the pandemic has upended many things, enjoying the outdoors doesn't need to be one of them. Whether a leafy home in the suburbs or a large apartment building in the city, there are many ways to design outdoor areas to expand living spaces for health, relaxation and recreation.
This article, authored by Deborah Myerson, originally appeared in Best in American Living. Read the full post here.