Homebuyers looking for expansive outdoor living spaces

The Spring Parade of Homes features many homes with welcoming outdoor living areas, such as Allure Luxury Homes’ Tour No. 160.
The Spring Parade of Homes features many homes with welcoming outdoor living areas, such as Allure Luxury Homes’ Tour No. 160. Submitted photo

In today’s real estate market, homebuyers have become more focused on outdoor living spaces that go beyond a mere covered deck or enclosed sunroom. What they really desire is to feel as though they are on vacation.

During this year’s 53rd Annual Spring Parade of Homes (, which concludes today, prospective buyers will find numerous homes from which to draw “alfresco inspiration” to incorporate into their own outdoor living space designs.

According to Paul Clem, a partner in Allure Luxury Homes, many homebuyers are opting to create a residential resort in lieu of the finished basement “man cave.”

“Rather than arcade games, pool tables and bars,” Clem said, “buyers feel they are deriving more value with an outdoor lifestyle package than a theater room.”

The best place to start, he said, is to consider what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel when retreating to your yard. For example, is the goal to create a place for friends and family, or one that is reminiscent of a favorite vacation destination?

Another trend is a shift in choosing a custom home lot on which to build.

“I have seen a lot of buyers opting for a less expensive level lot rather than a walkout lot, and creating an outdoor patio with an outdoor cooking space, hot tub and fire pit,” Clem said. “The advantage is that this places the outdoor living space on the same level directly outside of their breakfast or great room.”

On the Parade, Allure Luxury Homes is featuring Tour No. 41, No. 69, No. 100 and No. 160.

Outside TVs, fireplaces and complete kitchens have also become very popular with today’s homebuyers, said Jim Lambie with Lambie Custom Homes Inc. “Buyers want the inside to flow seamlessly to the outside. One of the ways we achieve this is by using large sliding doors with wide openings that give the allusion of still being indoors, but you get to enjoy the fresh air by actually being outdoors.”

Lambie’s homes can be seen on the Parade at Tour No. 7, No. 18, No. 37, No. 57, No. 146 and No. 165.

Landscape designs also play a major role in any overall living environment. From spacious patios, to meandering flower and plant beds, to alfresco kitchens, homeowners are constantly looking for more ways to beautify their outdoor spaces and make them more welcoming for entertaining friends and family.

Slightly raised islands in the middle of the lawn, fountains and fish ponds, rambling vines, elevated planters and hanging baskets, large blooming shrubs and gravel pathways are among the many elements that landscapers, builders and homeowners are choosing to further enhance the outdoor environment.

“There is such an emotional connection to the outdoors,” Mitch Benjamin, Builder/Developer Sales with Hermes Landscaping said. “We show people how to tap into that with much more than just grass and a couple of trees by including hardscapes like patios and retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, lighting and more.”

Presented by the Home Builder’s Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA) and sponsored by Stewart Title, the Parade highlights the latest in home design, construction and technology, plus provides buyers the chance to research the abundance of local builders.

This year’s Parade offers 340 single-family homes, townhomes and maintenance-provided villas constructed by 109 Kansas City metropolitan area builders across eight counties on both sides of the state line, making it the second largest Parade of Homes in the country.

2015 Spring Parade of Homes

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through today, May 10. Admission is free.

Where: 340 homes throughout the metro. Free Parade Guides listing addresses and information for every home on the Parade are available at the HBA office at 600 E. 103rd St., near Interstate 435 and Holmes Road, and at all Parade homes.

Home prices range from $179,000 to $1.7 million.

Information: Event information and a digital Parade of Homes Guide can be found at using an online Home Search tool for locating homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities, plus a Mobile Search and Maps tool for searching from your smart phone or tablet.