Around F.C., News

Outdoor Living Spaces a Big Plus in Post-Covid Housing Market

By Kylee Toland
Falls Church News-Press

As the days get longer and the weather becomes warmer, people are enjoying the summer season in the comfort of their own backyard. According to a 2021 trend report provided by the International Casual Furnishings Association, 90 percent of Americans with an outdoor living space have been taking far greater advantage of their outdoor amenities.

These amenities can include decks, porches, patios, swimming pools and many more as people are doing more relaxing, gardening and dining outside.

The increase in purchases of outdoor living amenities can be attributed to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and how people have grown more comfortable in their own homes. While many people themselves can create their own outdoor living facilities, some may rely on landscapers, contractors and architects to provide these updated amenities. This has been beneficial to many local businesses, including AllGreen Landscape Company in Falls Church, Virginia.

AllGreen Landscape Company focuses on providing homeowners with eco-friendly landscaping designs as well as conserving natural resources. Tommy De la Torre, the owner of AllGreen, said the company had received about 15 or 20 requests from homeowners so far this summer, with calls mainly coming from DC, Maryland and Virginia areas.

Outdoor patios and gardens have proven popular among homeowners, where it can be seen as a place to entertain and relax without the risk of Covid. Many people decorate their patios with various types of furniture, cooking equipment and planters. The pandemic also led to a resurgence of interest in gardening, with a University of Vermont report suggesting that it is helping people stay “physically and mentally healthy” as well as providing a “welcome release from the stresses” related to Covid-19.

Due to the pandemic, De la Torre said the company has noticed a “substantial increase,” with many people teleworking and having the opportunity to enjoy the outside. He says creating a “great” outdoor living space involves creating different zones, such as patios, lounge and dining areas and a firepit. “It seems that people are focusing more on home, family and having a safe place to unwind,” De la Torre said, “and there’s no better place than your own backyard.”

Another area of relief that homeowners found during the peak of the pandemic were backyard swimming pools. Pool sales skyrocketed. From 2020 to 2021, 772 pools were sold in Arlington County, Falls Church City, Alexandria City, Fairfax County and Loudoun County, a vast difference from the 661 pools sold in 2019.

Forbes reported a popular trend in outdoor living is the installation of outdoor kitchen areas. In 2020 there was an 80 percent increase for outdoor kitchen products. Firepits, grills, coolers and pizza ovens are just a few examples of what people are placing in their backyard. Some benefits of having an outdoor kitchen include additional cooking space and an increased home value.

So far, De la Torre said he sees that families are “thrilled” to have these outdoor amenities, with the busiest season being spring and fall for purchasing products. “In this real estate market, it can also provide a selling point to entice potential buyers,” De la Torre said. “An outdoor living space increases the usable/living space to a home.” De la Torre added outdoor living spaces can add 9 — 12 percent value to a home.