As Outdoor Renovations Stay Strong, These Outdoor Living Products Are Benefiting the Most

The backyard continues to be a major focus of the still-surging home renovation activity of the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting sales for a range of outdoor living projects. In particular, higher value products such as hardscaping and water features are benefiting in 2021, as homeowners who undertook smaller scale DIY projects earlier in the pandemic are now hiring professionals to tackle bigger, costlier projects they’ve been putting off. As a result, the Freedonia Group forecasts sales for the following products to outperform the outdoor living market as a whole in 2021.  


Hardscaping sales continue to see a boost in 2021 as contractor orders resurge. Heavy to transport and often difficult to install, these products are usually installed by professionals. Because hardscaping is an essential part of the outdoor living space, suppliers will continue to find opportunities as homeowners expand their outdoor living areas and upgrade their hardscapes to reflect current design trends:

  • Patios provide surfaced areas to cook, dine, and entertain.
  • Retaining walls divide yards into “outdoor rooms” and walkways serve as hallways.
  • Fire pits extend the outdoor living season into the colder months.
  • Boulders and natural stone elements enhance aesthetic appeal.

Additionally, hardscaping products are available in a range of colors, textures, and materials (e.g., porcelain, recycled plastic, clay brick, stone), allowing homeowners to achieve different aesthetics at a number of price points.

Water features

Waterfalls, stream beds, bubbler rocks, and other water features that typically require professional installation are also benefiting due to their ability to boost the aesthetic and atmospheric qualities of an outdoor space, with many consumers enjoying their tranquil sound. In particular, pond-less water features that are low maintenance and can fit outdoor living spaces of all sizes will continue to see the best opportunities.

Low-maintenance landscaping

In a (temporary) reversal of historical trends, homeowners spending more time at home during the pandemic began doing more routine lawn and garden work themselves, boosting sales of lawn mowers and other power lawn and garden equipment in 2020. That trend is fading as the do-it-for-me movement picks back up, but it’s no wonder many homeowners are now investing in making their landscapes lower maintenance, such as by replacing lawns with biodiversity-attracting tall grasses.

Other ways homeowners are lowering the maintenance requirements of their outdoor spaces include replacing grass with hardscaping such as aggregates and native plants:

  • Xeriscapes, as these landscapes are called, is increasingly prevalent in drought-prone areas.
  • Re-circulating water features are popular design elements in xeriscapes.

Outdoor kitchens

Outdoor kitchen equipment, which can be challenging to install (especially when incorporated with hardscaping), is also seeing above average sales in 2021. While 2020 was the year of the grill – with record sales culminating in a number of major IPOs this year – the trend of bigger, more elaborate professional-grade outdoor living installations is boosting prospects for outdoor kitchens in 2021.

In addition to equipment such as cooking and refrigeration units, outdoor storage products are common in these installations, with units that resemble cabinets used in indoor kitchens becoming increasingly popular. For example, NatureKast’s weatherproof plastic cabinets are treated in a variety of finishes to achieve this effect. Brown Jordan and Danver also offer outdoor kitchen cabinetry solutions.

Want to Learn More?

Outdoor Living Products 2021 is now available from the Freedonia Group. Hardscaping and Water Features are forthcoming.

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