The rise of outdoor living

Stuart Dantzic, managing director at Caribbean Blinds UK discusses the driving forces behind the increase in outdoor living solutions.

As a nation, the global pandemic taught us the importance and value of our outdoor spaces. For the best part of two years, we were forced to re-evaluate the role of our homes and gardens, resulting in many of us choosing to invest more in our outdoor spaces than ever before.

For UK homeowners, the multiple lockdowns helped to create a ‘holiday at home’ culture that’s continued to flourish over the last couple of years.

This trend has been fuelled by several factors including the desire for extra living space, an increased focus on health and wellbeing and a keen interest in adding to the value of our properties in the current volatile housing market.

Additional living space

According to research, approximately 87% of British homes have gardens – with seven out of eight households having access to either a private or shared garden – equating to around 23 million residential outdoor spaces across the UK.

Another survey carried out by Hamptons revealed that 61% of respondents who moved home in the last two years stated that outdoor space was a very important factor when choosing a property.

The demand for homes with larger gardens and outside space has increased significantly over the past three years, as buyers place a greater value on the lifestyle and wellbeing elements of a home.

Because of this, more and more homeowners are seeking quality products that allow them to utilise their garden by helping to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.

And while a landscaped outdoor space may not be within everyone’s budget, there are a number of improvements you can make to the exterior of your home that are quick, easy and affordable and achieve the same result.

Home improvements

The UK has experienced a significant increase in home improvements and a drive to create the most stylish and luxury garden designs.

One of the key reasons behind this shift towards outdoor living is the desire for additional living areas. Many homeowners are looking to create an extension of their indoor living space by adding features such as decking, hot tubs, outdoor kitchens and additional seating areas including pergolas and covered patios. These spaces not only provide extra room for entertaining friends and family but also increase property value.

For hospitality and commercial establishments, previous social distancing rules and restrictions meant they had to reconsider the use and functionality of their outdoor areas, and for many, this is still a priority. Today, the commercial sector continues to aim to utilise every inch of available outdoor space – with year-round flexible solutions being a popular option.

Changing weather

Although the UK isn’t renowned for its hot weather, the past few summers have been an exception with long spells of uncomfortable heat, causing the nation to question whether they’re prepared for the warmer weather and likely heatwaves the country is predicted to experience over the coming years.

On the other hand, as we transition into the winter months, it’s important that our outdoor spaces are equipped to stand up to the UK’s adverse weather conditions, including wind, rain and snow.

This is where premium solutions such as all-weather pergolas, louvered roof canopies and patio awnings come in. These products have the ability to adapt to these changing ambient conditions, providing an open-air alfresco feel when left fully open, and ensuring a completely water, wind and even snow-tight roof when closed. No matter the size of your outdoor space, these products can act as an extension of the roof of your property, linking the home and garden and making both areas look and feel bigger.

The homebuilding industry

Just as outdoor living has climbed its way to the top of homeowner wish lists, it has also become a priority for architects and design professionals.

In 2022, the New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) published ‘The Future of Home Design’ survey which targeted over 300 industry professionals including residential architects, designers and builders.

Offering insight into a number of home design trends expected to rise over the next three to five years, 58% of respondents confirmed that connection to the outdoors/nature will be an important influence on their design choices, while 45% said outdoor entertaining will also receive increased attention.

To conclude, the home represents the biggest ROI, with people spending more time at home now than ever before. This combined with a home improvement sector that’s ripe for continued growth means the scope for outdoor living and additional extended living solutions is huge.