The Outdoor Living Movement

Scott Webb Headshot
photo of an outdoor room near a pool
This project, by Jimmy Reed of Rock Solid Tile, is a great example of the outdoor room.

There’s nothing new about hanging out by the pool, but a growing number of consumers have hit upon the idea of trying to stay out there for long periods of time. They want to live life out there in the backyard. They want to cook gourmet dinners and play board games and chat on the phone in the wide-open air.

That is good news for us because recreational water and outdoor living go together like peas and carrots. A trend that has people focused on backyard construction can only be good for the pool and spa industry. It almost takes an application of the will to think about outdoor living without water. Try it. It’s not easy:

You’re reading “War and Peace” on a shady veranda in the late summer, sipping lemonade and reclining ever deeper into your chaise lounge. You lower the novel, yawn, stretch. What’s that sound? It’s the sweet trickling strains of a bowl fountain. What are you going to do when you get bored with Natasha and Andre? Go for a swim or soak in your hot tub.

It’s only natural. A comfortable backyard space simply demands water.

With this in mind, we're devoting September to an exploration of the outdoor room movement. On Thursday, you'll see an interview with Kate Wiseman, a landscape designer who works with pool builders to create the kinds of backyards that people never want to leave. Next week, we'll look at a retailer who has used one element of outdoor living — barbecue and hot sauce — to stir excitement and interest in his pool store. And finally, we have a story from Senior Editor Eric Herman, in which Ryan Hughes and Scott Cohen about what the outdoor living movement looks like from the construction side. 

So stay tuned — you’ll find something of interest no matter what part of the industry you call your own.

It’s also worthwhile checking out the American Society of Landscape Architects recent survey on outdoor design trends. They found an encouraging 86 percent of respondents listing decorative water installations as highly desirable elements of outdoor living spaces, along with spas (76.4 percent) and swimming pools (73.8 percent).

All in all, the burgeoning interest in backyard living spaces is an exciting development for our industry and one that shows no sign of slowing.

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