Buyer’s Remorse


According to the Wall Street Journal, people are falling out of love with those high-priced outdoor furnishings we’ve been ranting about.  Is anyone surprised?

Thanks to Craig Cramer for sending us the link; he credits Jane Berger with bringing it to his attention.


  1. I am laughing my head off, having had my own little rant about these things in a comment on Garden Rant’s last post on outdoor extravaganzas. Now they’ll all sit there and rot after they’ve done their environmental damage (runoff, energy use in construction, etc.) What a waste. Trophy McMansions to follow, soon…..

  2. Personally, I don’t like eating outside. Bugs, wind, bringing stuff back and forth.

    The WSJ article remind me of these McMansions with huge eat-in kitchens with up-to-the-minute appliances, Brazilian cherry everything, and islands that no one uses.

    The thing is that first you have to decide that you want and need the outdoor additions–not just assume they’re the thing to have. Then it could maybe work.

  3. The people who were mentioned in this article must surely be prime contenders for the ‘Stupid People Award’.

    Duh, is it really that far of a stretch to wrap their pea brains around the concept that if you invest in building an outdoor room that it is not going to be ‘maintenance free ‘ ?
    ( I wager that these are the same people who order up a No Maintenance Garden )

    I mean really, put your thinking caps on people !
    If you put a carpet down in your indoor living room doesn’t it need to be vacuumed once in a while ?
    So why wouldn’t your exterior carpet or blue stone patio require some degree of attention to maintain its value ?

    The same analogy can be used for a hot tub , the grill, the dining furniture and the other ‘recreational equipment’.

    I can somewhat commiserate with the gentleman whose fountain was turned off because the filter was getting clogged up with berries from bird droppings , but there is a solution,.. you just have to roll your fat arse off your couch, drive your SUV down to the hardware store and purchase a dual filtration set up. … or call your landscaper , just like you would call the plumber if your garbage disposal was clogged.

  4. I particularly liked the guy who never used his fire pit because he didn’t want to get it dirty and have to clean it…LOL. Are these people serious? And, here’s my own little rant: anyone stupid enough to put a big-screen plasma television outdoors “for entertaining” deserves to have it infested with fire ants. I mean…really….people don’t spend enough time in front of the idiot box indoors, they need it outside as well? Give me a break. I may be a bit of a bitch on this one, but I’m entirely amused by the entire article. I feel a rant of my own coming on….

  5. Thanks so much for this post. I had felt this trend-backlash coming on in the way bitty back part of my brain, sort of how you can feel a storm coming on. It was neat to find this article here. The moral of this story?: Entropy, folks. All things decay. Gotta go headhead.

  6. I think it’s the “keeping up with the neighbors” yet again. Who has the biggest outdoor room with the most toys in it? Sad really. The fire ants made me laugh — it never crossed my mind that something like that would happen, but it’s funny. The amount of money spent is almost incomprehensible. I blame those dumb shows on HGTV.

    Being outside is lovely in and of itself. You don’t need a “room.”

  7. I have to admit that I did experience a bit of schadenfruede while reading the WSJ article. I’m glad that the outdoor living room trend is on the decline.

    I actually feel kind of sorry for anyone who sees the obscenely large shiny aluminum gas grill and somehow equates such a purchase with happiness.

    The mental picture of a guy attempting to remove candle wax from his deck reminded me of a great book by Dan Ho entitled Rescue from House Gorgeous. I highly reccomend it. It’s a voice of reason to counter our culture of conspicuous consumerism and remodeling and redecorating to soothe our empty souls (as seen on HGTV!)

    I was thrilled to read that the outdoor speakers tend to die a rapid death in the elements. That was truly music to my ears, as I really detest having my neighbor’s musical tastes foisted on me and the rest of the neighborhood. I’d would rather listen to the drone of someone’s leaf blower than have my backyard reverie broken by an inconsiderate person who hasn’t stopped to consider that perhaps the rest of the neighborhood doesn’t share his fondness for Springsteen. You’d think he’d never heard of the iPod. Outdoor speakers= noise pollution in my book.

    Hopefully, those who have invested large sums in outdoor living accoutrements and are now stymied by the time stolen from them for the maintenance of these items will pause to consider just what it was they were subconsciously hoping for when they made these purchases.

  8. This? Is really funny. And, like many funny things, a little gross too.

    Gawd forbid that one’s outdoor room have the attributes of something that’s, well, outdoors.

    Then, too, I’m a little annoyed. I throw lots of outdoor parties (the annual BLT fest which involves a rainbow of home-growns and at least 10 lbs of bacon fried over a propane burner in the less than picturesque carport is eagerly anticipated by many) with what could, at best, be characterized as a rustic set-up. I bet these bozos with all these nifty grills and sinks and patios never actually get beyond the idea of entertaining. That, afterall, would involve getting off the couch.

  9. “Greasy food remnants in stoves and grills, for example, attract rats, which in turn attract snakes. Mr. Weisman gets three or four calls a week from alarmed homeowners who have found sated copperheads and other serpents sunning on their decks and patios.”

    Eureka! The secret of a wildlife garden revealed! All I have to do is put the stove outdoors and never clean up, and voila!

    You know, I think this is the backflip of germ theory and the “squeaky clean” household. People now just assume that because indoor pests are uncommon in “nice” homes, there are simply no more pests, and if they move outdoors, it’ll be just like the house except with blue sky and sunshine! Woohoo!

    My favorite bit was the Wii controller flying out of a sweaty palm and smashing into the outdoor TV screen. That is truly priceless.

  10. i can’t help but feel sort of sorry for these folks. i wonder if they’re ever happier for more than a few days at a time, when they wear the newness off their things.

    but that image of the moist people flinging their wiis around totally makes up for it.

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