Embracing the Outdoors: The Changing Landscape of Home Design

Open-concept just got a whole new meaning. Demand for homes with indoor living areas that flow seamlessly into the outdoors is on the rise—and this trend is changing the way we design homes, essentially making outdoor space a true extension of the home.

According to the Taylor Morrison 2017 Consumer Survey conducted by Wakefield Research, recent and prospective homebuyers are craving green space so much so that more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed would be willing to sacrifice a larger house to obtain a bigger yard.

A little elbow room also goes a long way. The survey found the most important exterior feature of a home is distance from neighboring homes. Both millennials (48 percent) and non-millennials (53 percent) believe this breathing room is key, beating other curb appeal elements such as siding, driveway styles, exterior paint color and roofing finishes.

“Demand for more elaborate exterior space continues to rise and blending indoor-outdoor living to address customer preferences is critical to our success,” said Sheryl Palmer, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “At a time when land prices are escalating and local approvals can force smaller lot sizes, Taylor Morrison creatively maximizes limited areas—especially in urban locations—making the entire living experience that much more enjoyable.”

Features such as outdoor living rooms, floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls that open to the backyard, and matching tile flooring that extends from a home’s interior to its exterior are helping to create a seamless flow in today’s outdoor-oriented homes.

Who is most interested in outdoor space? Well, just about everyone. Roughly two in three women (62 percent) prefer less house for more yard, compared to a little more than half (51 percent) of men. While it may be tempting to also assign this sentiment to parents, the data suggests this is a consistent expectation across parents and non-parents alike, and across generations.

Our very own Taylor Morrison Shopper Surveys also reveal an increasing desire for enjoying the outdoors. When asked what home shoppers would spend an extra $10,000 to $15,000 on in their new homes, outdoor living items topped the list over features such as upgraded cabinets and kitchen islands.

“Outdoor living is no longer an afterthought to a home’s construction,” said Charlie Enochs, Taylor Morrison area president for the central region. “In some of our largest markets such as Austin, Dallas and Houston, we just introduced nine new floor plan series, all of which have blurred the hard line between the inside and out to meet the blended indoor-outdoor living trend head-on.”

Even in tight quarters such as urban neighborhoods and vertical construction, homeowners want every inch of outdoor living space maximized. In our Treo Community in Scottsdale, for example, we transform the side setback areas—which are traditionally forgotten about, rarely landscaped, and oftentimes used for things like garbage bin storage—into courtyard areas and side patios for entertaining and pets.

And, in our Lighthouse and Echo communities in Orange County, our customers are responding well to homes with balconies on every level and rooftop decks as a way to affordably enjoy ocean views in a perfect climate.

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