When people say nothing will ever be the same after 2020, they may be right. With the pandemic changing how we live in and enjoy our homes, it's entirely possible we will continue to make them serve us as never before.
Forbes writer Jamie Gold says one of those changes is the consumer trend to maximize their outdoor living spaces. Sudden needs to multi-task for study, work and exercise have begun to take over our indoor environs, but not at the expense of relaxation.
She quotes The Nature Fix author Florence Williams who says, "Scientific evidence continues to mount that when we spend time immersed in nature or surrounded by even modest natural features, it boosts our mood and leaves us feeling emotional restored. During stressful times, these moments to find beauty and peace become more important than ever."
As homeowners' increasing demands to have private havens on their properties go up exponentially, homebuilders are beginning to design homes around courtyards and porticos. "This design provided a household with private areas to gather amid fruit trees and flowering plants, but away from the prying eyes of passersby and potential security threats. It still does, and may make a comeback because of the pandemic," she says.
She also cites home improvement site Houzz, which reports an increase in searches related to interior courtyards going back to March when sheltering at home began in hard-hit early states. Houzz associate editor Annie Thornton says, "Outdoor living spaces have been extremely popular since the beginning of the pandemic, and we anticipate that single family homes and multi-unit buildings will have more connections to the outdoors in the future."
In some instances, a glass ceiling may be added to a courtyard for greater climate control for protection from insects, but the practical possibilities are endless, making a courtyard ideal for everything from meditation to yoga to a work-from-home space to an outdoor classroom. Gold's courtyard research reveals that a basic interior courtyard would include plants, flowers, and trees, plus benches and tables in ancient times. Other amenities included water features, trellises or shade structures, bird feeders, or a fireplace or fire pit.
In general, the pandemic has created a DIY boom that includes homeowners buying materials for outdoor spaces, evidenced by reports that the home improvement business is booming. Home Depot and Lowe's have reported historically large rises in quarterly revenues as housebound Americans spend billions of dollars more than usual.