The recession has undeniably hit the country hard and has had many effects, including slowed development, job loss, and simpler design. The current American home is smaller, simpler, and low maintenance. There are simpler designs because I feel that’s becoming more appealing -- harkening back to a more family-cantered, stay-at-home lifestyle. People don’t need as many possessions, and their house is a reflection of who they are. So simpler designs, less materials seems to be a better expression of how we live and where we are in this economy. Smaller is just more economical, more energy efficient, easier to maintain, and practical.” As the old adage goes, time is money -- and when money is tight, low-maintenance becomes important.
We still see a lot of clients trying to make very rational decisions when selecting their outdoor living space design.. We see people putting money into their outdoor kitchen, but we see them willing to pay a premium if they know that something is going to be more efficient, easy to maintain, and have a longer lifecycle. It seems as though consumers are getting much more conscious of that decision-making, as they are more practical, but at the same time more efficient, and get the most for their money. We at Garrett Outdoor Living have seen a clear trend in preference for smaller spaces. I think the economy might be part of it, and what I think was most appealing was that they like the detailing -- you don’t really need big spaces, but customize the space to you. I think people are thinking more about how they are living in their home, and creating just the outdoor spaces they need rather than the spaces they think they need for resale. We also see a rise in the interest in more contemporary outdoor living spaces with cleaner lines and less ornate detailing on the exterior.
The simplicity of the outdoor space, of course, results from a variety of factors. Smaller homes encourage energy efficiency in terms of cost savings, as well as a continuation of the sustainable design we’ve seen over the course of the last few years. It seems, however, that Americans are focusing less on stuff and more on quality and are certainly getting the most bang for their buck.