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Designing & Constructing Amazing Outdoor Living Spaces

Photography Provided

In the spring of 2020, when the world was forced to shut down, slow down, and for some, even come to a hard stop, those in the home building, landscaping, and hardscaping industry were just getting revved up.

The global pandemic has created a shift in the way people view their home, and in the past two years, they have spent much more time working, exercising, and even schooling from home.

“With so much going on inside their houses, homeowners have looked outside for opportunities to add additional living spaces,” says Dena Marietta, Marketing & Events Manager for Duke Homes. “Areas to relax and gather with friends, cook, garden, work out, and even work remotely outdoors have become more popular. For many, the backyard has become a true extension of their home, and they are more willing than ever to invest in outdoor living spaces.”

These outdoor spaces may include adding patios, pools, pavers, pergolas, fireplaces, firepits, and walkways—all of which expand the square footage of a home and provides homeowners with an outdoor place to live, work and play.

landscapingMike and Theresa Powell, owners of Greenleaf Landscaping, which specializes in the design, construction, and maintenance of outdoor living spaces, have seen strong interest in enhancing outdoor environments.

“Instead of taking vacations, people are investing in outdoor living spaces,” Theresa says.

“With the rise in new home construction in Bargersville and western Greenwood comes increased demand for customized landscaping. Many of the new homes have minimal landscaping and hardscaping. Mike has noticed that new homeowners are often eager to add a paver patio, fire pit and trees for added privacy.”

The Powells are also refreshing established structures—situations in which people have lived in a home for a couple of decades and are ready for a change so they decide to modify their outdoor living space.

“These are homes where landscaping has outgrown the space,” Mike says. “They are wanting to start over and look at expanding patio areas or adding other outdoor elements like seat walls or fire features.

“We also continue to see trends of homeowners installing pools and hot tubs and with that comes the need for landscaping the surrounding areas.”

Mike recommends engaging a landscape designer early in the pool project so drainage, hardscape surrounds and plantings are part of the overall pool design.

Plus, with interest rates at historical lows and “staycations” at an all-time high, pools and hot tubs are often being included in the initial new home build. Sometimes along with that people choose to also add hardscape areas with firepits and additional gathering spaces. landscaping

Marietta points out that while adding a swimming pool doesn’t directly translate into a dollar-for-dollar rate of return on investment, if it provides years of enjoyment and value for the family, it’s certainly worth doing.

“Their personal enjoyment is the true measure of the rate of return,” Marietta says.

The predominant trend in hardscaping is an increase in designing much larger porches on both the front and the back of their new custom home.

“These porches are designed more like outdoor living rooms and kitchens and are no longer just home to a rocking chair or two,” says Marietta. Fireplaces, outdoor cooking areas, expansive seating areas, big screen TVs, sound systems and oversized sliding doors that blur the transition from inside to out are all on trend. Clients are also adding outdoor heating to these areas to extend their use throughout the cooler months.

When building these outdoor features, experts agree that it’s imperative that quality remains paramount.

“It’s much better to focus your investment on one improvement at a time and do it right than to try and take on too many projects,” Marietta says. “Skimping and not completing a project with quality materials and craftsmanship will result in projects that won’t stand the test of time, forcing you to have to redo a project down the road.”

As a whole, homeowners are choosing to transform their backyards into a comfortable oasis where they can relax and unwind. As such, they are seeking greater privacy. According to Marietta, beyond outdoor fencing homeowners are seeking additional seclusion with the installation of decorative privacy screens, automatic screen walls on porches and the inclusion of landscaping elements such as vertical gardens, evergreen trees, and weatherproof fabric curtains. FOr more ideas, check out the website from cedar post fencing from Cedar Fence Direct.

The Duke Homes team certainly knows a thing or two about creating luxurious outdoor living areas as evidenced by their Modern Prairie home—the winner of the 2021 Home-A-Rama People’s Choice Award.

“When we designed the space, we knew it would be beautiful, but the reality far exceeded expectations,” Marietta says. “From the pool with built-in fountains, to the outdoor living and kitchen areas with retractable screen walls and extensive hardscapes, to the pool house/indoor sports court area this home really overdelivered.”

Greenleaf Landscaping is located at 788 S Runyon Road, Greenwood, IN 46143. For more information, call 317-881-4566 or visit www.greenleaflandscapeinc.com.

Duke Homes is located at 4300 N. Rd. 725 W., Bargersville, IN 46106. For more information, call 317-422-9000 or visit dukehomes.com

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