Your buyers are now, more than ever, looking for backyard updates to add to their new homes, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise. For the past few years, outdoor living spaces have been on the rise in new construction, and the pandemic has only accelerated that trend. Homes have been getting smaller since 2015 as unaffordability continues to rise for millennials who are now entering their home-buying stages. Buyers today prefer more energy-efficient and practical homes over larger ones that require more maintenance. As a result, homeowners turn to expand their living spaces by investing in backyard updates, such as patios, decks, and porches. With the pandemic thrown into the mix and limiting people to their homes, there is now an even greater need for multipurpose backyard living spaces – as a place to not only enjoy the outdoors but to entertain friends and family while staying safe. But your buyers aren’t looking for just any backyard update. Here are 6 backyard updates homeowners are looking for in their new construction homes:

 Backyard Updates Homebuyers are Looking For - stone patio

1. Tiled and brick clay paver patio

In 2019, deck updates on new construction homes were on the decline. Builder Online reported that of the new homes started in 2019, only 20.3% of them included decks. On the other hand, outdoor patios have remained popular. Of the new homes started in 2019, 59.6 percent included patios, as reported by NAHB (National Association of Home Builders). In part, the traditional wooden deck style may be falling behind due to its higher need for maintenance. They often need to be repainted, resealed, and power washed, sometimes every year. In comparison, patios are more cost-effective and provide more privacy than a higher deck.

2. Outdoor kitchens

Food Dive reports more Americans are cooking at home than in previous years and that 7 out of 10 Americans will continue to cook at home even after the pandemic ends. With cooking rising in popularity, the desire for outdoor kitchens has followed closely. In 2021, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reported that 60% of homeowners are looking to add outdoor kitchens to their homes. Although grilling and fire pits have been popular among many Americans, these features are now just one of the most common amenities homeowners are looking to add to their homes.

You may be wondering: why would someone need an outdoor kitchen when they have one indoors? There are actually several perks to having an outdoor kitchen. They’re a great way to expand the size of your home, and they can add value to your home. What’s more, cooking outside can prevent your house from smelling like your latest creations and save on electricity bills.

3. Outdoor bars

Wayfair Professional recently reported that their website traffic for outdoor bars has increased by 155 percent. Many are eager to spend more time outdoors but remain cautious about going to restaurants and bars. Having a bar all to yourself outdoors is a sure way to relax and makes for a great space to entertain friends and family while being socially distanced.

Backyard Updates Homebuyers are Looking For - lighting

4. Lighting & smart-home technology

Having the proper lighting can make a difference in the kind of mood you want to create. You can’t enjoy your backyard to the fullest without adequate lighting. A few years back, the go-to choice for lighting was LED white lights, but these days, color-changing lights are the go-to choice. Homeowners are also looking to bring their indoor smart-home technologies outdoors. Better Homes and Gardens revealed that incorporating outdoor music and televisions has been top tech requests.

5. Outdoor home offices

For those who lack the extra space indoors or simply want their own private space away from children or spouses, office sheds have become the next best thing. USA Today reports that in April 2020, Google searches for office sheds were increasing. These “backyard cottages” have been a way to increase functional space for residences that may be smaller. Many of these backyard sheds have also been converted into extra bedrooms or a home gym amidst the pandemic.

Backyard Updates Homebuyers are Looking For - fencing

6. Fencing & increased privacy

In 2019, the number of homes spending on fences and landscape walls grew by over 9% from the previous year. Wood fencing was the most popular, beating polymer and metal. In 2020, glass fencing around pools was emerging as a trend. Although they tended to be pricier than traditional wood or metal, glass fencing was a popular choice because of its aesthetic appeal and transparency. The demand for fencing has only increased since the beginning of the pandemic.

Now that people are limited to their homes, houses have turned into more than just a living space. They’ve become offices, gyms, and places for social distanced gatherings. People want their privacy. In their latest study, the New Home Trends Institute notes that “the more private the spaces, the more desirable they are for homebuyers.”

The Backyard of Your Buyer’s Dreams

The National Association of Realtors (NARS) reports in their study that most buyers would be willing to pay a premium on a home if it had an outdoor living space. COVID-19 may have encouraged homeowners to take on more home improvement projects this year. Still, many of these trends, such as fencing and brick or tiled patios, were popular even before the pandemic. For many, the pandemic has allowed them to rediscover new uses for their backyard and realize how enjoyable their backyards can be. As a builder, these backyard updates can be an insightful indicator of what homebuyers may want in their next new home, and many of these trends will be here to stay even post-pandemic.