Pandemic Backyard Sheds

As the evenings darken earlier and the days begin and end with a familiar chill, outdoor gatherings will soon be drawing to a close, even with the steep rise in outdoor heater sales.  With the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and a second wave already sweeping across North America, where will households find room for everyone to have a little spot of their own? 

Although many families continue to live, work, and learn from home, with multiple generations under one roof, carving out a space of one’s own can be challenging.  As a result, the pandemic has spurred a rise in the sale of pre-fabricated shelters and investment in renovations to create private spaces for family members.   Even before coronavirus, especially in regions where home prices have soared, more people are looking for an attached or detached living space for work or for elderly loved ones to live close to family.

According to a recent AARP article, interest in accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) has tripled over the last year among adults over 65 visiting websites for prefabricated structures like Studio Shed based in Lewisville, Colorado.   While additions and ADUs may require permits and a longer timeline to erect, prefab sheds can generally be shipped within weeks and built on-site in a few days.  Check with your municipal zoning regulations to determine if a building permit is necessary for a backyard shed. 

As an alternative to spending months in social isolation, many families decided early on in the pandemic to delay an elderly loved one’s move into assisted living or bring them home where they would be surrounded by family.   Seniors who have been living alone or isolated in assisted living are at greater risk for declining cognitive function, more depression and anxiety, as well as fewer opportunities to stay physically active.

Regardless of whether older adults are living alone, with family, or in an assisted living community, it’s important to plan daily activities, get some exercise, and stay socially connected either in-person or with phone and video calls.  Don’t forget to use a face mask in public and keep your washing hands!  

Learn more about ADUs and download a free design catalog by following this link to AARP’s Future of Housing page.