July 2022

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BUILDING OUT The pandemic convinced homebound homeowners to extend their living space out onto the lawn | By Ed McKinley


mericans are transforming their lawns into outdoor living spaces by adding self-contained backyard kitchens, designated lounging areas, gaspowered fireplaces and freestanding “she sheds.” The trend exploded when COVID-19 forced most of the nation to stay home. Feeling confined, homeowners were inspired to extend their living space into the outdoors by planting bushes, cultivating turf, building decks, installing patio pavers, creating garden ponds and splurging on weatherresistant sofas. “We all spent so much time at home during the pandemic that space became the ultimate luxury,” said Amanda Pendleton, home trends expert for Zillow Group, a real estate marketplace. “Outdoor space is where we relaxed and where we played and where we entertained.” Life spilled out of the house and into the yard, agreed Drew Reading, homebuilding analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

“The pandemic certainly fueled a massive wave of investment into the home because it was viewed as a safe haven—a sanctuary,” he said, “and, importantly, it took on more functionality. Over the last two years, the home became the school, the office, the gym, the restaurant and everything else.” The longing to capitalize on outdoor space is reflected in the outdoor segment’s growth at Lowe’s (LOW) and The Home Depot (HD), the nation’s two biggest publicly traded home center chains, Reading noted. The Home Depot’s sales related to outdoor home improvement increased 5% in 2019, 29% in 2020 and 8% in 2021, while Lowe’s posted sales increases in those categories of 4% in 2019, 33% in 2020 and 5% in 2021, he said.


Even though home-center outdoor sales are climbing at a more modest pace these days, they’re still climbing. Plus, they’re

Outdoor improvements with functionality, like a backyard lounging space, took on added importance when the pandemic forced families to stay home.


Luckbox | July 2022

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