Outdoor living spaces are wildly popular, particularly with buyers in the 55 market. At this point in their lives, many of these folks are no longer confined to the indoors, raising a family or working 60+ hour weeks. Even traditional indoor activities such as watching TV can move outside. Whatever the reason, keep in mind that there are four seasons to design around – even in the sunbelt.
Spring is such a vibrant time of the year, so allow nature to lead the way when creating outdoor spaces for your buyers. When planning, think about the proximity to plant and flower beds where buyers can capture the sun. Allow for small water features by adding power and plumbing access to add ambience and mask any nearby road noise. Allow for both sun and shade and consider how you can capture a breeze or two as the days move closer to summer.
Long, warm (or downright brutal) days dominate the summer. In humid climates, it might also mean afternoon thundershowers. Creating refuge from sun and rain is critical for buyers to enjoy the outdoors in the summer. It is also a great time to enjoy and cool off in a splash pool or have cold beverages. Make sure you provide power and plumbing to accommodate an outdoor refrigerator and/or ice maker, whether it is supplied by the builder, or is just ready for the buyer to add an appliance. The NEXTadventure buyer loves to host, so this should be a place for them to offer a drink and relax with friends.
Fall means football, beautiful leaves, blue skies and brisk breezes. Days begin getting shorter and cooler, so providing uncovered space in the sun may be appropriate. With the advent of flat screen TVs that mount on the wall, watching football can become a wonderful outdoor activity. Make sure the walls around the perimeter of the outdoor space can support the weight of a wall-mounted TV, and plan for the location of the power and cable outlets along with data for those smart TVs. Football and fall also mean tailgating. Let your buyers have the full tailgating experience at home by adding an outdoor kitchen, complete with refrigerator, grill and sink.
Winters tend to be dark and cold with the sun setting way too soon – especially if you live up north. Thoughtful lighting is the first step to an inviting outdoor living space. Let’s go beyond bolted-on floodlights and incorporate landscape lighting and up-lighting. Buyers can thus use the uncovered gathering space out and away from the house to capture the sun during the day and stargaze at night. Your buyers will appreciate the addition of a fire pit or electric or gas for space heaters to keep them warm while they enjoy the outdoors.
A little advance planning can help your NEXTadventure buyers enjoy the outdoors year round. Take a tour of the NEXTaventure home at the 2017 International Builder Show to see how the outdoor space can cater to their demands.