Outside spaces such as gardens and drives are as important to housebuilders as kitchens and bathrooms. Steve Edwards National Sales Manager – Housebuilders at Brett Landscaping and Building Products explores the top paving trends for the coming year.
It is often said that a person’s home is their castle, and that a home ultimately comes to reflect the people who live within it. As years and decades go by, a whole host of influences can have consequences for how people choose to design their homes and gardens. The latest trends in fashion, style and design play a crucial role, as do latest innovative building materials and techniques. All influence the decisions behind which way to specify a home.
All current indicators suggest that many of the purchasing and specifying habits in landscaping that began to take hold this year will gather momentum in 2017, as housebuilders start to see for themselves what is possible.
One trend that has certainly begun to take hold is for housebuilders to specify for a greater degree of colour variation on residential properties in all sectors of the market. Homeowners now see colour uniformity on patios and drives as being bland – a perception that they do not wish to convey to their neighbours and friends.
By utilising some degree of colour variation housebuilders are able to draw the eye of the observer across their property. This can attract them towards other details which may have not been seen before, such as the range of paving plan sizes used, if the products have a traditional or contemporary feel to them, the colour of the paving itself or even the profile of the kerbs used.
The actual colour of the paving stones that are being selecting seems to be shifting as well. During the last five years or so grey has consistently been one of the most popular options in all sectors of the market. However, there seems to be a resurgence amongst potential home buyers towards more natural buff coloured paving products, which are capable of adding a splash of colour and personality to a property by providing a contrast with the homes that they are set against.
Though grey is a fine colour for paving, it is natural that over time colour preferences will shift; no one wants to be seen as having copied the choice of a neighbour.
One trend which has gathered momentum in the last decade or so has been an increase in the level of investment on home exteriors, compared to interiors. Traditionally kitchens and bathrooms have been a key focus of additional investment, but many housebuilders are now just as likely to invest in higher end gardens and drive landscaping than they are to invest on the inside of the home.
After all, the exterior of a property represents the first thing that a guest or neighbour will see of the home, and people have realised that this area is as important for making an impression as the interior of the home itself.
Expect to see lower end materials such as asphalt replaced with higher end paving stones and even natural stone as housebuilders and homeowners chase the ultimate “wow” factor that will differentiate their properties from the rest of the street. This is a trend that is scalable; natural stone represents the upper end of the market but there are plenty of aesthetically pleasing solutions available at all price points of the market.
Housebuilders are also responding to the need to consider issues such as surface water drainage in developments. This has led directly to a significant increase in the popularity and specification of permeable paving solutions throughout 2016 and beyond. Although 2016 has remained fairly benign weather-wise, 2015 saw huge flooding across the country.
The flooding focussed the minds of local authorities who have led the way in terms of permeable paving specification. Many housebuilders, especially in flood-prone areas of the country are now extremely keen to ensure that their properties are as flood-proof as possible; permeable paving is one of the key steps to achieving this.
One factor that will help with the uptake in permeable paving solutions is the increasing compatibility between permeable paving blocks, and the rest of the landscaping solutions in a system. At Brett, our Alpha and Beta permeable paving block products are all compatible with the rest of the range, meaning that the practicality of the solution can be enjoyed without negatively affecting the aesthetical value of the property. I am sure that simple innovations like this mean that permeable paving blocks will continue to enjoy popularity going forward.
Housebuilders are always looking for innovative and creative ways to increase the saleability of their project and now there are more interesting paving solutions available on the market than ever before.
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