A Trend Away From Outdoor Living- By: Andy Denton
Looks like the recession’s hit the market for homeowners spending quality time outside the house. In a recent survey among residential landscape architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) found out that many are staying away from spending too much for home improvement plans outdoors. The official press release states, “While outdoor living continues to grow in popularity, expect fewer frills this year as homeowners get back to the basics in a cool economy… Overall, 94.4 percent of residential landscape architects rate outdoor living spaces like kitchens or entertaining space as somewhat or very popular for 2010. Among kitchen features, the most popular include the classic outdoor grill (94.4 percent) and counter space (73.5 percent). More elaborate kitchen elements like outdoor refrigerators (52.8 percent) and sinks (50 percent) were much less popular.”
In an interview, Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville states, “Homeowners want to create a sense of place for their family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy outside, but an uncertain economy means many will dial back some of the extra features we’ve seen in past years.”
And this is a clear example of how the financial catastrophe has deliberately forced homeowners to think twice about spending like the way they used to. Still, there’s something that we can find hope. The report adds, “Among landscape and garden features, 2010 will feature an increase of design elements that reduce time and money. Topping the list are low-maintenance landscapes (94 percent); drip/water-efficient irrigation (85.2 percent); native/adapted drought tolerant plants (85.2 percent); and less lawn (73.9 percent). Other popular features include fountains/water features (87.8 percent) and food/vegetable gardens (78.5 percent).”
Since this year is all about low-cost elements, I decided to write these outdoor saving tips in line with the results of the ASLA survey.
First, since 94 percent prefer low-maintenance landscapes, opt for something else other than grass which is difficult to maintain. Unless you have the entire weekend to mow or pay for someone to keep it trimmed for you, why not switch to moss instead? Have a Japanese garden in your home with the addition of this alternative ground cover.
Second, 85.2 percent choose drought-tolerant plants. This doesn’t mean though that your landscape design must be boring. Choose blooms like the purple coneflower that can be very bright during spring. They are a unique addition to your lawn.
Third, since more than 95 percent prefer to have seating and dining areas according to the survey, choose foldable pieces if you have limited space. Not only will you have extra room for other occasions, the mobile table and chairs set is very practical during other activities as well.
Finally, do not settle for charcoal grills unlike the 95.4 percent who like it based on the survey. These grills are messy and won’t last long. Instead, choose gas grills that can heat fully as fast as ten minutes. In the long run, you’ll be saving more.
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Andy Denton is the COO of www.Realty.com. Realty.com is a real estate search portal, dedicated to connecting home buyers and sellers to trusting real estate services. Follow the Realty.com blog for up to date housing news and trends. And monitor local mortgage rates at RealtyGadget.com.