Americans spend more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In fact, between 1995 and 2017, outdoor remodeling has grown 110%.

Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has many people staying at home this year, with plenty of time to look at their home’s imperfections, both outside and in.

Because Long Beach is blessed with wonderful weather, it is possible you have been spending more time than usual in your backyard.

Arlene Patterson said she almost literally lives in her patio during the summer. She decided that it needed some freshening.

“I need color and I need some spotlights on the trees,” the Long Beach resident said. “I want to make the patio attractive and functional.”

The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based research firm, has found that the demand for outdoor furniture, grills and other patio products is forecast to decline because of stay-at-home recommendations. According to Freedonia, demand for outdoor products will grow to almost $12 billion, but that won’t be until 2024.

So instead of buying new patio furniture, Patterson is getting hers re-slinged and refinished.

“I like my outdoor furniture, but it’s been in the patio for years,” she said. “The refinishing will make the furniture look brand new.”

Realtor Kendra Miller of Keller Williams has shared many ideas with home sellers in the past on how to make the patio a point of interest to a prospective buyer.

“The patio is your primary outdoor space,” she said. “Clean up what you have. Paint the fence, puts some pots on the porch, add some color and new cushions. Make the patio a great place to hang out.”

Having a budget, or at least knowing what things cost, is important, Miller said. “Not everything is going to cost $500. That’s not realistic.”

She suggests that perhaps it’s time for a new umbrella. Or the awnings need to be replaced, as do the outdoor lights. A wind chime, a rain catcher or drought-tolerant plants are easy-to-do enhancements as well.

The website reminds patio remodelers to make sure to measure carefully — both the area you are renovating and the elements of your plan when buying patio equipment.

And measuring a patio area couldn’t be more important than when considering adding a hot tub.

According to Hughsten Smith, general manager of California Home Spas and Patios at 1621 E. Spring St., hot tubs are more popular than patio furniture or barbecue grills since the pandemic started.

“Hot tubs are the big seller now,” Smith said. In May, our goal was to sell 42 hot tubs, which would have been a record for us, and we’ve been in business 42 years. Well, we sold 100. For this month, our goal is 29 and we’ve already sold 22.”

Smith said the nation’s top-selling maker of hot tubs, Hot Spring Spas, is sold out of inventory. Wait time for a hot tub is four to six months.

“When you think about it, everybody is staying home,” he said. “A hot tub is medicinal; it’s like a vacation that is going to last 20-30 years.

"But you wouldn’t want to buy patio furniture without seeing how comfortable it is, and people aren’t going out to shop for that comfortable couch just yet. It’s going to be hit-and-miss with furniture and grills for some time.”

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