Lynn Fairfield

IL/WI Broker

Move Over Kitchen: The Backyard is the New Heart of the Home

As millions of Americans ready their outdoor space for the summer season, a new study from SABER Grills reveals just how enamored U.S. homeowners are with their backyards. Eighty-three percent of homeowners across the country say their outdoor living space is the favorite place in their home. It’s also the most used space in American households just behind the kitchen, and way ahead of the game room, living room and dining room. 

While spaces like dining rooms and formal living rooms have lost favor in American homes, the backyard has gained popularity each year. The survey showed the overwhelming majority of current U.S. homeowners (81 percent) consider their outdoor space the heart of their home.

"It doesn't matter if your home is valued at $75,000 or $775,000, if you are an American homeowner, you are proud of your outdoor space and consider it an essential part of your home," said Rob Schwing, GM of SABER Grills. "Homeowners use their backyards to relax and reconnect with family – just like the kitchen." 

It's not surprising then that 51 percent of all homeowners say they update the space as often as their favorite interior rooms. And, new man-cave trend alert - a full 30 percent of male homeowners say they are solely responsible for decorating their homes' outdoor space. Topping the guy's wish list for 2014 outdoor space additions? A pool or hot tub. One thing they can't live without? Their grill. And, not surprisingly, "access to wi-fi" is now among the top five most common items in demand for outdoor living spaces.

Super engaged with their outdoor space are Baby Boomers who live in older homes, mostly congregating in the Southern and Midwestern U.S., the survey revealed. Their backyard is more likely than others to be equipped with TVs, Wi-Fi and special lighting. They own at least two grills and are adventurous entertainers, frequently trying new recipes with groups of five or more. 

Other regional facts: 

• Midwesterners are the most interactive with their outdoor space: they update/accessorize most often and 75 percent use it throughout the week. 
• Top of the wish of outdoor furnishings for all was a pool or hot tub. Southerners and Westerners are most likely to include "kitchen" in the top three. 
• South and Northeast residents have the biggest parties, usually entertaining more than five people. 
• Southerners are most likely to own two or more grills; Northeasterners, just one. 
• Roughly 40 percent of all outdoor chefs consider themselves average grillers. More than 30 percent of Northeasterners, however, identify themselves as "confident" grillers. 

Source: SABER Grills, LLC 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.