Home Plans with outdoor living spaces are trending with the modern homeowner. In fact, they are currently the most popular special function area sought after when designing a dream home. Lou Maglio is the president of Walpole Outdoors, one of the country’s leading manufacturers and distributors of distinctive architectural landscape products and structures. With over 40 years in the casual living industry, he shares his experience with…
Recent trends for creating welcoming, livable outdoor spaces for your Home Plans.
Q1: Fire features, lighting, barbeques, and entertainment systems have significantly increased in popularity in outdoor home plans design and remodeling projects. What outdoor living trends have you noticed over the past year; has there been an uptick in specific product offerings from Walpole? Lou Maglio: Outdoor areas are now being designed to be extensions of a home’s living space. Pergolas and pavilions have been the premier choice, according to Walpole’s incoming orders. Families want to spend more time outside, while bringing the indoor comforts with them. Pergolas and pavilions make this possible by providing protection from the sun and weather, while allowing for traditionally interior amenities to be installed outdoors, such as fans, electronics and kitchens. Even in the commercial market, parks, schools, and office buildings are incorporating outdoor areas for alternative leisure and work space.
Q2: Walpole offers a great variety of structural elements for outdoor living, from fences and gazebos to pergolas and arbors. When determining what type of outdoor structure best fits a backyard space, what design characteristics should architects and landscapers keep in mind for their home plans? LM: Many variables are taken into consideration for each project that comes to the Walpole facility. First, we look at the function that needs to be served. Our products are used for security, privacy, entertaining, architectural design aesthetics, and more. If a client wants to have an outdoor dining or entertainment room, we would most likely suggest a pergola, pavilion or gazebo. If a structure is desired for a walkway, a trellis or arbor may be more appropriate. Once a type of structure is selected, we work closely with the landscapers, outdoor room designers and architects to make sure the design, color and proportions of the structure blend seamlessly with the home’s existing style as well as the surrounding landscape and hardscape. Regardless of the chosen product, our cellular PVC material is low-maintenance, durable and can be customized to client’s preferences, making it easier for landscapers and architects to deliver an end product that is celebrated.
Q3: With a 78% approval rating, low-maintenance outdoor living spaces and landscapes are among the top ten project types with the highest expected consumer demand. Walpole’s “low upkeep” cellular PVC fits right into that category. What are the other benefits of using cellular PVC when designing outdoor spaces? In what ways can cellular PVC be used outdoors? LM: Home plans with Outdoor living is being targeted by homeowners most frequently with the purpose of increasing the resale value and enhancing the environment by creating a space where they may spend time outdoors, even in poor weather. With this in mind, cellular PVC can be substituted anywhere wood or stone is used in outdoor structures. It still has the same look and feel as real wood, but the difference is that cellular PVC requires much less maintenance and will withstand nature’s elements without warping, rotting, splitting, or cracking. Other benefits of cellular PVC in comparison to wood are its functionally and ability to be personalized. As an example, Walpole offers an extensive palette of over 100 Sherwin-Williams vinyl safe paint colors. In addition, cellular PVC can be bent to create interesting curvilinear lines or shapes and is easier to incorporate wiring for lighting, TV, stereos, and other electronics.
Q4: A key driver of outdoor living trends in home plans is the rise of Millennial homeowners. They are now coming of homebuyer age and seeking homes with outdoor living areas that are already complete or containing areas that can be improved or remodeled. What specialty outdoor structures can be included to make outdoor spaces more appealing to younger generations? LM: Millennials represent a highly sociable, open-minded and inclusive generation. As they enter the housing market and start their own families, their desire for creating areas that enable them to entertain friends and family becomes quite significant. Their community-oriented lifestyle draws them to the idea of an outdoor living space. Beyond the typical fencing for safety and privacy, along with pavilions or pergolas for shade, outdoor elements that also capture Millennials’ interest are fire and water features, landscape lighting, outdoor furnishing, and outdoor kitchens. For more active individuals, combined basketball and tennis courts for adults or playsets for children are also appealing.
Q5: Walpole Outdoors’ products are inspired by traditional-style architecture. How are you addressing the needs of landscape architects that desire modern styles, e.g. how can landscape designers and architects integrate these same products in more contemporary settings? LM: Walpole Outdoor structures are highly customizable. We offer a free design consultation to help map out a client’s request and develop a plan of action for execution. We have created detailed, in-cut designs in traditional, modern and contemporary styles. One modern trend we have seen arise is the use of mixed materials, such as cellular PVC, different types of wood and metal. From color, shape, product materials, and even the finest details down to beam and joist end cuts, fret work, lattice insets and hardware, we make sure landscapers and architects have an end product that not only meets the client’s need but also exceeds their expectations.
Q6: It has been scientifically-proven that being outdoors can ease depression, encourage a positive outlook, improve focus, and strengthen immunity, among many other benefits. How can designers incorporate a client’s active lifestyle into their outdoor spaces? LM: At Walpole Outdoors, we often work with architects and landscapers on their large commercial projects such as schools, office buildings and public parks. Over the years, we have noticed a considerable spike in catering outdoor home plans design to the active individual. This could be the office employee who goes for a walk or jog during their lunch break, so running trails are mapped around the building; or the student hosting a study group under the pavilion outside the school building. These are just a couple examples of how we have made the transition from the indoors out a little easier, not to mention, what could be mundane activities, a bit more enjoyable.