Outdoor Living Trends and Alfresco Renovation Ideas

Looking to spend more time outside?

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With more time at home and warmer weather, homeowners coast to coast want more from their outdoor spaces. There’s no doubt that spending time outside is a healthy way to enjoy the season.

This year, we noticed a rapid growth in outdoor living renovations heavily influenced by the pandemic and the new stay-at-home lifestyle. Creating an outdoor living space is an investment. Not just for the resale value of your home, but for your future happiness for years to come.

There are so many ways to customize an amazing outdoor space that you and your family will enjoy. Whether you have a small terrace or sprawling yard there is a wide variety of products and solutions for everyone. We’ve highlighted the latest trends and products. With these upgrades, you’ll be ready to host the perfect social distancing barbecue, backyard lawn games with the family, or even a date night in.

For most homeowners, the biggest challenge is where to get started. Although landscaping, plants, and flowers are important for creating a beautiful yard, think outside the box! Take a step back and think about your lifestyle.

1. Creative Expansion of Your Living Space

You want to make sure your outdoor oasis is a place that you will want to return to -- day after day, and year after year. With any home improvement project, my recommendation is to consider how you live your life today, and perhaps how you aspire to live going forward.

How do you like to relax and unwind after a long day? What are your hobbies and what kinds of activities do you enjoy on your days off? Once you take these things into consideration, you can come up with creative ways to enjoy those hobbies at home.

Outdoor Recreation Areas

Outdoor Recreation AreasDedicated outdoor recreation areas are popular right now and the possibilities are limitless. Backyard putting greens, lawn games, fire pits, swimming pools, and basketball hoops are more popular than ever before. Transforming your yard into a recreation area is a safe way to get your family outside and moving this summer.

Outdoor refrigerators and freezers are a great addition to any outdoor recreation space. Grab cold beverages on the go and keep summer treats like popsicles and ice cream right where you enjoy them most.

A Relaxing Retreat

If you’re planning for a relaxing retreat, consider a pergola adorned with bistro lights and furnished with comfortable outdoor furniture. Outdoor ceiling fans suspended from a permanent structure can provide much-needed air movement on hot summer days. Daybed swings, hammocks, and covered chaise lounges are popular this year.

If you’re going to curl up with a good book this summer, make sure to provide enough shade. There is a wide variety of canopy options from temporary umbrellas to more permanent arbors and gazebos.

Consider unwinding with a refreshing glass of your favorite wine. Adding a wine cooler or beverage center to your outdoor gathering place is a great way to store your favorite beverages outside without having to make extra trips into the house. Plus, many of the outdoor wine and beverage centers have a lock option to keep your collection safe when you’re away.

Upcycle Existing Structures

If you already have an existing structure, like an old barn or repurposing it into a kid’s hangout or dedicated hobby area. There’s so much inspiration out there. Backyard reading nooks, crafting corners, art studio, or even a “movie theater”.

If your existing structure is indoors, there are many different appliances that can give your backyard retreat functionality. Adding a stackable space washer dryer set can be convenient for keeping beach towels clean and dry. Consider adding a suite of compact appliances like a microwave drawer for popcorn or a mini-fridge to keep drinks and snacks close by.

2. Summer Staycation

For many families, plans look vastly different. Many vacations are canceled due to COVID travel restrictions. Camps, daycare, public pools, parks, and recreation areas are closed. Instead of spending time away, many homeowners are looking to direct funds toward lingering home improvement projects.

Creating an outdoor entertainment space has become a priority as entertaining alfresco is the safest way to spend time with family and friends this summer. If you like to entertain, you can create a space that is both fun and functional. Whether you’re sipping your favorite summer wine, or want to host a neighborhood cocktail extravaganza, you can find the right outdoor appliances that best fit your entertaining needs and space.

The first step to designing an outdoor entertainment space is to think about how you entertain today. What types of meals and beverages are you serving your guests? Do you experience any challenges now that you would like your new space to solve? Think about how new outdoor living appliances can take your gatherings to the next level.

There are so many great outdoor appliances that can help you get the party started.

Refrigerator Drawers

Refrigerator drawers are a great addition to any outdoor cooking station or bar area. Fridge drawers provide an easy way to store burgers, condiments, hot dogs, beverages, and drinks. They keep ready-to-cook items at a safe temperature.

Make store-bought ice a thing of the past with top-quality clear ice cubes made right in your backyard. Whether you're serving lemonade, soft drinks, or signature cocktails, a built-in icemaker will provide access to great-tasting ice all the time.

Outdoor Bar

Whether you're entertaining guests on your deck or enjoying a nice craft cocktail by the fire pit for a date night in, consider an outdoor bar. Outdoor bars have a built-in sink that can hold ice for hours at a time. An outdoor bar with a speed rail is great for easy access to essentials. An included cutting board is great for cutting lemons, limes, and other garnishes. Some outdoor bars even come with a built-in blender.

Outdoor Beer Tap Dispenser

For beer lovers, adding an outdoor kegerator can be fun. Kegerators are designed to keep kegs of beer at the proper temperature. This way you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite brews for a few weeks at a time. They are typically sold as under-counter refrigerators that can come as single or dual tap units. Kegerator refrigerators keep your favorite beers cold and ready to go for your next party. Since they can keep beer fresh for a few weeks, you don’t have to drink it all at one time.

3. Luxury Cooking At Home

There’s no doubt that you’re spending more time at home this year. Whether you’re a seasoned home chef or if you recently developed a passion for quarantine cooking, there are a wide array of outdoor cooking appliances that will take home meals to the next level.

Outdoor kitchens have been a top priority for families remodeling in this new stay-at-home era. There are some positive benefits to cooking at home as most home cooks save money and calories. Home-cooked meals can be fun and creative. Get your family, and kids involved in the kitchen. Luxury items like built-in artisan pizza ovens and flat top Asado grills were once viewed as extras – now we’re seeing these products make it to the top of families' wish lists.

Not sure what to add besides a grill? We are seeing a surge in additional outdoor cooking products so you can expand your outdoor cooking menu and serve up a wider variety of food items alfresco. There are a plethora of outdoor cooking appliances available today. From built-in barbecue grills, pizza ovens, smokers, side burners, and even flat-top grills, you can choose the best appliances for your outdoor cooking creations. Some outdoor appliances even have smart (wi-fi) capabilities so you can follow step-by-step recipes for perfect results every time.

Artisan Pizza Ovens

Take your next neighborhood barbecue to the next level with homemade artisan pizzas. Making pizza can be a fun activity the whole family will love. Plus, these outdoor hearth ovens are great for other dishes like baked bread, wild salmon on cedarwood, or even steak.

Flat Top Asado Grill

If you’re looking for a companion to your outdoor barbecue, consider an outdoor flat-top Asado grill. These grills are typically powered by a gas burner and feature a large smooth cooking surface that heats up quickly and evenly. Flat-top grills are great for teppanyaki cooking, breakfast foods, delicate cuts of fish, toasted buns, and hot sandwiches.

If you’re looking for a companion product or alternative to a traditional gas grill, consider a pellet grill, a charcoal grill, or a smoker. These grills typically take longer to cook than a gas grill, however, they deliver exceptional flavor. There are some grills out there that have multiple functions like a smoker/pellet grill, gas/charcoal, or gas/smoker to provide even greater versatility.

4. Permanent Structures and Built-In Outdoor Kitchen Islands

If you’re planning an outdoor renovation this summer, many homeowners are committing to more permanent structures that they plan to enjoy for years to come. Pergolas, three-season porches, and gazebos can provide much-needed shade during the hot summer months. Permanent recreation areas, fire pits, and pools are also popular right now. Dedicating spaces to outdoor recreation and hobbies can be a great way to further customize your home.

Spending time outside is fun for family and guests. Whether you’re playing in the yard, cooking a delicious meal, or roasting marshmallows around a fire pit, summer is a great time to build memories that your family will cherish.

We’re seeing more yards with outdoor kitchen islands. Outdoor kitchen islands are made from weatherproof cabinetry or stone hardscape. There are options out there for yards of every size. You can create a functional outdoor kitchen with as little as 4 feet of space. Modular islands are a great budget-friendly solution and come ready for built-in outdoor appliances such as built-in gas grills, access doors, and even refrigerators. If you have a lot of space and want to include a wide variety of appliances, build a custom island that can house a wide variety of outdoor cooking appliances.

First things first, you’re going to want to include a barbecue grill. The grill is the centerpiece of any outdoor cooking area. There are a wide variety of solutions out there for any space and budget. Freestanding grills, post-mount grills, and portable grills are an easy solution for small spaces.

Built-In Grill

Built-in grills are installed into outdoor cabinetry or a stone hardscape. Many built-in gas grills have a rotisserie option for slow-cooked meats. Select a grill with a smoker box and add wood chips for a delicious barbecue flavor. Many grills today come with backlit control knobs and extra lighting so you can keep the party going, even after dark. There is a wide variety of sizes, colors, and brands to choose from.

In addition to the grill, consider the items you use for cooking and meal prep every day in your indoor kitchen. Outdoor refrigerators, sinks, faucets, and storage solutions are a few of the many great products you can add to make a functional outdoor cooking space.

Side Burner

Side burners are a great companion product for your barbecue grill. Built-in side burners either come as a 2-burner configuration or one large power burner. Brass burners are both attractive and durable for many meals to come. Think steak & eggs, stir-fry, or slow-cooked risotto to accompany your grilled meals.

Warming Drawers

Warming drawers are a great addition to any outdoor entertainment space. Keep hot foods ready to serve at a safe temperature for up to three hours without overcooking or drying out your meal. Warming drawers are also a great addition to any poolside area for warm towels at the ready.

Outdoor Sinks

Grilling can be messy. Adding an outdoor sink and faucet to your outdoor grill space will make alfresco cooking a breeze. Outdoor faucets are great for rinsing veggies, washing your hands after marinating meats, and easy clean-up. Outdoor sinks can double as a built-in cooler with a large bag of ice.

Outdoor Cabinets

Just like with your indoor kitchen, having outdoor cabinets and storage will help keep you organized. Add a water-tight sealed pantry to your outdoor island or even below your grill to store paper goods, napkins, and cooking tools. Paper towel holders, built-in trash / recycle centers, and access doors are all popular additions.