Finding any kind of silver lining from the events of the past two years isn’t easy. The COVID-19 crisis brought challenges none could have expected, forcing much of the world to radically alter its way of life.
How we live, how we work and how we socialise changed completely – as did the priorities of most households.
But if there’s one slight positive to have come out of the doom and gloom, it’s the newfound appreciation we have for our homes. Forced to barricade ourselves indoors indefinitely, we were left with no choice but the make the best of the space we have available.
In particular, people began looking at their own gardens and exterior spaces with a whole new level of fondness. Even the smallest gardens suddenly became a desirable sanctuary, safe from the unpleasantness taking place elsewhere.
All of which has subsequently been reflected in property prices – homes with gardens continue to fetch record-high prices across much of the country.
But what was also interesting is how such a huge number of households got well and truly bitten by the gardening bug. More specifically, they saw the untapped potential in their gardens and let their imaginations run riot.
Even where space was at a premium, there was no shortage of innovation to make the best of every available inch.
Creative Crafts During COVID
For example, hashtags like #InsideOutside and #BalconyGardening were trending at insanely high levels throughout the warmer months of the year. TikTok in particular became a hotbed of tutorials showing how to make the best possible use of the smallest gardens and the most compact balconies.
What was driven home by the whole thing was the importance of rethinking what had previously been taken for granted.
Before the pandemic, a back garden of just a few square metres with nothing but a fairly barren lawn wasn’t a particularly impressive asset. When lockdown hit, the same space quickly became a priceless sanctuary and the ‘fifth room’ of the home.
Millions who didn’t see themselves as creative, innovative or crafty suddenly became ambitious amateur landscape gardeners. Not to mention, carpenters, electricians and pavers, laying everything from flagstones to designer decking.
None of which would have happened had the pandemic not occurred – a once-in-a-century crisis that changed our lives beyond recognition.
For Work or Play
It stands to reason that those who were suddenly forced to work from home gained maximum value (practicality and enjoyment) from their outdoor spaces. Something that rings even truer for the more compact household, where home office space isn’t exactly in plentiful supply.
Being able to work outdoors during the warmer months of the year is an absolute joy. If your job permits you to take things al fresco when the weather is at its best, doing so can have major physical and psychological health benefits.
Of course, most households investing in their exteriors during the pandemic were more interested in recreation. Some created sumptuous patios with built-in heaters for year-round use, while others installed rustic fire pits and pizza ovens. The outdoor dining trend in particular has proven absolute hit, bringing everything from a practical extendable table to intelligent smart lighting into our outdoor spaces.
Best of all, many households found that making these upgrades and alterations wasn’t nearly as expensive as it might have been. Mostly due to the fact that for safety and practicality reasons, they ordered the materials/products needed and went about the installation process themselves.
Needless to say, there’s nothing more satisfying than stepping back and admiring your own handiwork.
A Temporary Trend or the New Normal?
Exactly what the future holds is currently anyone’s guess. Predicting what might happen even just a few months from now is practically impossible. If nothing else, the pandemic taught the entire world to expect the unexpected.
But what seems to be on the cards indefinitely is the tendency for more households to spend more time at home than ever before. Home working is expected to become permanent for many millions of workers, having proved beneficial for both the workforce and employers.
In addition, many have reached the conclusion that it really isn’t necessary to venture far from home to relax, socialise, entertain or basically do anything you like. We’ve learned to appreciate our homes in such a way that returning to pre-pandemic ‘norms’ seems unlikely.
Irrespective of how the pandemic plays out, the UK’s love affair with staying in won’t be going out anytime soon!
“Entrepreneur. Freelance introvert. Creator. Passionate reader. Certified beer ninja. Food nerd.”