Up until the mid-20th century, American home life was split between two types of experiences: Urban living in major cities and factory towns where space was limited and accommodations were tight; and rural living, where the area surrounding the home was used primarily for farming or sharecropping purposes. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (also known as the G.I. Bill) made it possible for many Americans to afford a home for the first time, paving the way for suburbanization. Detached homes and fenced-off backyards led to another way of life new to many Americans – outdoor living. It’s hard to imagine today’s America without patio furniture, porch swings, barbecue grills, fire pits, and all the amenities that come with extending home to the immediate outdoors.

The outdoor living market has grown over the past few decades, but has accelerated in 2020. As COVID-19 has interrupted many people’s spring and summer travel plans, more of American life is taking place at home. Many antsy, home-bound Americans are reevaluating their outdoor living spaces and with no resorts to travel to, are increasingly motivated to turn their backyards into oases.

Moving forward, outdoor living will likely have a much greater impact on residential design as well as the construction, home products, and building products industries. Kleber and Associates will explore outdoor living trends, how they are currently impacting design and home preferences, and how building product companies can take advantage of these trends in a post-COVID-19 world.

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