Zilow® Digs™ reveals summer home improvement trends for 2013.

In June, Zillow revealed the results of its Zillow® Digs™ Summer Home Improvement Trend and Spending Survey. While the housing market has picked up, many homeowners are staying in their existing homes and making improvements. Zillow cited the reasons as a tight inventory of homes and the fact that more than 25 percent of homeowners nationwide are underwater on their mortgages.

According to the survey, a whopping 60 percent of homeowners are making at least one home improvement this summer. And of those surveyed, 40 percent are focused on outdoor spaces and 17 percent on bathrooms. So let’s talk about outdoor spaces…

Zillow’s analysts looked at online trends and found that the majority of visitors to their site prefer a natural feel and design for their outdoor space. So instead of infinity pools and well-appointed outdoor kitchens, 2013 summer outdoor home remodelers prefer camp-like settings with a lot of stone, partciularly outdoor fireplaces. And for good reason. A fireplace creates a warm area where everyone wants to be, extending time spent outside well into the cooler months. It’s a great investment for expanding your home’s “square footage” to outdoor areas.

Like these Zillow users, many of us are drawn to nature and the outdoors. Creating a comfortable and warm outdoor space can greatly enhance the enjoyment of your home.

Since we are the Hearth Experts, we’ve included photos for inspiration…

This patio is made complete with a Montana outdoor wood-burning fireplace and natural stone surround.

Sometimes bigger is better. The Castlewood is an oversized outdoor wood-burning fireplace.

If you'd rather not fuss with burning wood, the Carolina outdoor fireplace is fueled by gas.

As you start to look at the options available, you’ll find there’s an outdoor fireplace for every design style. Check out all the variations here.

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