Houzz study reveals popular outdoor design features 

Houzz study reveals popular outdoor design features 

About one-third of homeowners are upgrading their outdoor areas to extend their living space, according to the 2024 U.S. Houzz Outdoor Trends Study.

The survey of more than 1,100 U.S. respondents was conducted by Houzz Inc., a platform for home remodeling and design.

Outdoor Entertaining, Credit: KGA Studio Architects © David Patterson

The number of homeowners who are upgrading outdoors jumps to 41% for Gen Xers and 38% for millennials, compared with just 28% of baby boomers. Similarly, younger generations are more likely to prioritize outdoor upgrades for entertaining (44% of millennials and 42% of Gen Xers, compared with 34% of baby boomers).

To make their outdoor spaces more livable and suitable for entertaining, it’s no surprise that younger generations invest in major structural improvements, such as decks, outdoor kitchens, swimming pools and hot tubs, more frequently than older homeowners (65% for millennials, 61% for Gen Xers and 54% for baby boomers). Millennials and Gen Xers also pursue outdoor decorating projects at a higher frequency (54% and 45%, respectively, versus 31% of baby boomers) to make the space more usable and inviting. 

Outdoor Living, Credit: Collective Design + Build © Kevin Brost Photography

“With limited housing stock and higher interest rates impacting affordability, younger generations are squeezing functionality out of every inch of their current homes by focusing on the outdoors. Millennials, in particular, are most likely to invest in major structural upgrades in the yard and to add furniture and accessories to make it more personalized and livable,” says Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist. “That said, large-scope outdoor projects are common across generations, and homeowners are hiring professionals to bring their dreams to life.”  

Nearly two-thirds of homeowners hired a professional for their completed outdoor project (65%). Landscape contractors were hired most frequently (20%); followed by stone, pavers and/or concrete specialists (15%); general contractors (15%); and landscape architects or designers (14%).

Pro hiring is particularly important for the 1 in 8 renovating homeowners who turned their alfresco cooking dreams into reality by adding or upgrading outdoor kitchens (12%). These projects often involve significant construction, including installation of plumbing, electrical or heating (58%); appliances (55%); countertops (50%); storage (22%); and roofing (21%). Grills are most common for outdoor kitchens (88%), followed by cooktops (46%), pizza ovens (32%) and smokers or deep fryers (24%). And, grabbing a cold one is easy with two-thirds of homeowners incorporating a beverage refrigerator (67%). Millennials are the generation most likely to prioritize built-in outdoor kitchens (22%), followed by Gen Xers (15%) and baby boomers (8%).

Additional insights from the 2024 U.S. Houzz Outdoor Trends Study include:

  • Furnishing the space: Common furniture and decor products purchased for outdoor upgrades include lighting (29%), chairs or armchairs (24%), pillows and throws (20%), umbrellas (19%), rugs (19%) and sofas or sectionals (16%). Other than cost, aesthetics and durability were the leading considerations when purchasing products (71% each), followed by comfort (69%).
  • Landscaping improvements: Among homeowners with outdoor feature projects, more than three-quarters of homeowners upgraded plants, shrubs or trees on their property (77%), and two-thirds upgraded beds or borders (66%). Flowering (82%), low-maintenance (70%), butterfly, bee or hummingbird attractant (55%) and native plants (52%) were the most common.
  • Lighting up the landscape: Among homeowners with outdoor system projects, nearly 4 in 5 homeowners upgraded outdoor lighting (78%). Landscape lighting topped the list (81%), followed by string or bistro lights (44%) and porch sconces (37%). Light fixtures are most commonly a combination of glass and metal (58%); however, 32% of lights are entirely of metal. 
  • Getting smart with outdoor technology: More than two-thirds of all products purchased for outdoor spaces can be monitored or controlled by a mobile device (68%), including security cameras (43%), light fixtures (26%), irrigation systems (16%) and speakers or sound systems (15%). Millennials are significantly more likely than other generations to purchase smart products (89%, compared with 75% and 60% of Gen Xers and baby boomers, respectively). 
  • Incorporating fire and water: Among homeowners who upgraded outdoor elements, approximately 1 in 5 added or upgraded fire features, such as fireplaces or fire pits, or water features like fountains in their outdoor spaces (21% and 18%, respectively). Fire features were especially popular among millennials (37%, compared with 23% and 17% of Gen Xers and baby boomers, respectively). 

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