For remodelers, the opportunity to grow by cultivating more outdoor living projects becomes more tangible with each passing day. Nearly 80 percent of respondents to QR‘s annual outdoor living survey report taking on at least one or more outdoor living jobs in the past 12 months — everything from decks and porches to pergolas, kitchens and sophisticated detached structures. In fact, more than a third of remodelers now say they actively market their outdoor living services and credentials, a 4 percent increase over 2015.

The increase in marketing focus by remodelers stands to reason. A seemingly disjointed array of trades team up to create these beautiful and functional outdoor living spaces and that is why remodelers seem to be taking the lead. As outdoor projects grow in size and sophistication, there is greater demand for the expertise and project management skills of general contractors. Among the findings of our survey, remodelers report working with electricians, landscape designers, pool contractors, architects and plumbers, among others, in order to complete their outdoor work.

The top trade partner required was electricians. This too is a testament to the burgeoning scopes of work, which often include a combination of lighting, audio, video, ceiling fans as well as a broad range of cooking and refrigeration appliances. It is striking to note that 51 percent of our survey respondents report currently working on an outdoor kitchen project in the past 12 months, up from 32.6 percent a year ago. Client motivations for pursuing outdoor living projects are certainly consistent with this change. As was the case in 2015, “adding an entertainment space” was the top client motivator. But the second biggest driver was “to make existing spaces more functional,” followed by “creating more living space.” Both are consistent with the larger scopes reported this year.

This year we are pleased to add more context to our decking and railing survey results with market data from Principia, a Philadelphia-based analytics and consulting firm. While 73 percent of remodelers report using composite decking materials followed by pressure-treated lumber at 62 percent, the overall market statistics stand in stark contrast. Pressure treated lumber sold for decking last year hit 1.9 billion lineal ft. sold. It suggests that remodelers are selling premium products into the bigger projects they manager.

Outdoor opportunities abound and remodelers are increasingly active in this space.

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