Does the Outdoor Living Industry Need Interior Designers?

Our living spaces, whether located indoors or out, form the backdrop for our lives. Coming home to a place we call our own is one of the most comforting, rewarding experiences one can have. And big business know it. Companies have reacted to this emotion-filled market quite well, haven’t they?  There is certainly no shortage of places to go shopping for home-related goods and decor. Home services contractors are also abundant—if not over-abundant in some segments—allowing homeowners to pick up the phone and call a kitchen designer, landscape designer, or interior designer at the drop of a hat. Ahh the joys of the modern world.

Landscaping contractors should start working more closely with other professionals to help

So, it’s simple then, right? If you’re looking to outfit the interior living spaces of your family’s new home, you call an interior designer. Just the same, if you would like to build a walkway, patio, or new complete outdoor living area, you would reach out to a landscape architect or a landscape design/build firm. But while the latter is an easy way to the get the foundation of your landscape spaces designed and installed, rarely do these professionals cross over to the “exterior design” of the space. 

As a result, homeowners often find themselves left with a beautiful stone patio, pool, or outdoor kitchen area—maybe even accompanied by lush planting beds with shrubs and trees—but none of the warm and fuzzies found in their indoor home. Their new outdoor spaces still need to be appointed with outdoor furniture, pillows, rugs, potted plants, outdoor decor, lights, etc. 

Related: 10 Tips to Creating the Perfect Story Behind the Project Photo

Where, then, is today’s homeowner turning for this service, advice, and expertise? Quite frankly, it seems most of the demand is going unserviced. While interior designers are starting to pay more attention to outdoor living spaces everyday, their 'domain' is still widely interior-based work.

Architects work with interior designers every day to ensure that projects reach their full potential for the end client. So why do landscape design firms walk away from new outdoor living construction without offering ‘exterior design’ services? Surely these services and products would be a small percentage of the homeowner’s total install cost of the project? Learn more here about how contractors can increase their average project size. Many would be more than willing to pay a bit extra to bring their new outdoor living space to their interior standards.

So the unanswered questions then are these… 

Are outdoor living professionals waiting for interior designers to step up and fill this untapped market? 

Will there be a new emerging ‘exterior designer’ profession that will work with landscape architects and design/build firms to take the spaces to what most would considered finished? 

Or, will the same outdoor living professionals that design and install these projects begin to see the opportunity that offering this service would bring to their firms? Extra revenue, happier more satisfied customers, and portfolio pictures that actually show livable outdoor spaces. Sounds good to me?

Whatever the solution, homeowners are demanding outdoor living spaces that are as livable as the rooms inside their homes. It’s time to start creating them.