American Homeowners are Building More Outdoor Features than Before

As a homeowner, a certain amount of the value you place in your home relies on how satisfied you are with your garden or outdoor space. After all, having an outdoor space is largely what separates a free-standing home, from an apartment. The garden also tells your neighbors and passers-by, a bit about yourself and for buyers, good curb appeal is a must to ensure a premium sale price. This may be why more Americans are focusing on adding outdoor features than in 2010. We take a look at the numbers below to better understand this change.

Using data from the government’s census in 2018, we pulled out numbers relating to the changes in percentages of homes with a patio, porch or deck or a combination of two or more. We then compared these figures with their equivalents from 2010, to see how the trends have changed. The figures relate to new, privately-owned residential buildings.

The Number of Patio, Porch and Deck Builds

Overall, the percentage of houses with no outdoor addition dropped from 14% to 8%, indicating that more homeowners are adding some form of outdoor space to their homes. Patios seemed to have the most clout in 2018 with 20% of new homes adding a patio to their outdoor area. This shows a 33.33% increase from only 15% of homes having one in 2010. Equally popular, but perhaps more costly, was the addition of both a patio and a porch, which also saw a 33.33% growth from 24% of homes in 2010 to 32% of homeowners making this addition in 2018.

Building a deck only or a patio and deck together didn't gain any popularity, with the former retaining a 6% share and the latter a 2% share of new builds. Building a patio, porch and deck also gained no traction, with 5% of homeowners opting for this combination in both 2010 and 2018.

Building both a porch and a deck lost popularity with a 2% drop from 12% to 10% of homes. While a porch alone was less popular, percentage-wise, despite being more popular from a numbers perspective - dropping from 22% in 2010 to 17% in 2018.

The Value of Outdoor Space

Cost

It is likely that building a patio alone was most popular in 2018  being the most cost-effective addition, of the three. The national average cost to build a patio is just $2,000. Patios are usually a ground-level addition, made by paving or tiling an area to create space for a barbeque and dining or seating. It seems homeowners were being value-conscious, given what you get, in return for relatively little expense.

Building a deck is significantly more costly, with a national average of $17,200 -$19,000. This higher cost can be explained by the costly materials, site preparation and reinforcement work often required with a deck. Though a deck may be raised and offer several levels, the purpose is often the same as that of the porch, so personal taste and budget may be the dominant features when choosing this option.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the percentage of porch additions dropped, possibly as it is the most costly with an average spend of $21,440. Also, a porch is generally less versatile than the other two listed options and makes more sense as an addition in combination with, for instance, the patio as mentioned above.

Benefits

While each structure has its own cost and style considerations, they all have one thing in common, they provide a space to spend more time outdoors. This is the key when considering how daily stressors and energy drains have increased over the last decade.

Spending time in nature doesn’t have to mean getting into the wild, stepping into your back yard can be as beneficial. Spending time outdoors has been proven to decrease our stress hormone levels, and increase concentration and productivity. It also provides an opportunity for family and friends to gather for something as simple as a shared barbecue.

Considerations for the Construction Industry

There is a clear move toward homeowners wanting to have more opportunities to utilise their outdoor living space, providing opportunities for the construction industry. Also, given that these items typically add value to the home, with up to 75% ROI, homeowners may be more inclined to spend for a quality finish, rather than skimp on costs and materials.

Considering the percentage changes and costs mentioned above, construction professionals could focus on advertising and providing options for a variety of outdoor additions. Alternatively, again assuming that budget is a major factor in the selection of outdoor construction type, development of more cost-effective options for decking may drive demand in that area. finally, the 33% growth in additions of both a patio and a porch may be an opportunity to offer special combined addition deals.

Cashing in on Outdoor Spaces

While the construction industry will undoubtedly benefit from homeowners wanting to build more outdoor spaces, homeowners clearly benefit as well. Whether looking at health or improved resale value, homeowners are clearly more inclined to develop their outdoor spaces now than 8 years ago. Whichever side of the fence you are on, the potential for this growth to continue is there.

Outdoor renovations are generally less disruptive than indoor options. So, as a homeowner, it could take only a week or two to add your preferred outdoor living area for an enjoyable new space with limited fuss.


Yuka Kato

Industry Analyst