Outdoor Living Trends

In the latest American Institute of Architects’ home design trends survey, outdoor kitchens topped the list of most popular projects. Unfortunately, the survey didn’t go into detail on what owners are adding to those spaces. Forbes contributor Jamie Gold looked into the popular features within outdoor kitchens and its consequent outdoor living areas. Check out more details below.
Premium cooking
“In the past, many homeowners focused solely on their grill, and perhaps some outdoor seating,” recalls Mary Hannah Fout, senior marketing manager with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. “Today, many homeowners are accompanying the grill with a fully functioning built-in kitchen complete with sink and faucet, refrigeration, dishwasher, ice machine, beverage unit, pizza oven, weather resistant cabinets and more. Smart appliances are becoming very popular and it comes as no surprise that smart technology is also trending in the outdoor kitchen,” she comments. “Many grills and smokers are now wi-fi enabled, some even have voice recognition,” she adds.
Style coordination
This is also true for flooring that can extend seamlessly from interior to exterior, coordinating cabinetry and wall-width, track-free doors that completely open rooms to each other. “Exactly as the interior kitchen and bathroom design trends have shifted towards more sleek and modular aesthetics, so too have outdoor designs,” comments landscaper, contractor and designer Joe Raboine, now director of residential hardscape for outdoor products manufacturer Belgard. “To mirror the look inside the home, homeowners are choosing longer, linear plank pavers outdoors, and playing more with texture and color than in the past. This trend extends beyond modern homes, with this look translating to every home style.”
Technology enhancements
An outdoor living area’s natural elements might hide speakers and wiring, as well as irrigation and security tied to smart home controls. According to CEDIA, the association for home technology professionals, homeowners and their consultants are taking on far more projects and spending far more money outdoors than in past years. Outdoor televisions are a major category. So are outdoor speakers.

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