Connection to the Outdoors
Once upon a time, children raced home from school, met up with their friends, and played outside until dark. How many of you remember those days? Feeling the wind in your hair, the sun on your cheeks, and the freedom to explore the great outdoors was exciting and fun. Fast forward to today. You don’t see packs of kids riding bikes or playing pick-up-ball much anymore. A societal shift seems to have allowed our love of nature to be replaced with technology and busy schedules. Despite our hardwired connection to nature and our longing to be outdoors, many of us rarely find ourselves with the time to be outside anymore. In part because of the challenges brought on by COVID-19, we are seeing this trend changing yet again. People are searching for sustainable and healthy environments and reigniting their relationships with nature. Our priorities are shifting away from quantity back to quality.
The Evolution of Outdoor Spaces
Today both the appearance and usefulness of outdoor spaces are going through a renaissance. In the past, landscape amenity areas might have consisted of some benches and maybe a small paved area. If you wanted to get really fancy, maybe a planter or two were added for a splash of color. Now many people are looking for thoughtful outdoor spaces that provide an escape from the confines of home. Outdoor rooms and spaces that evoke a sense of calm are increasingly popular. Incorporating comfortable outdoor seating and using a combination of colors, textures, and natural accents help to define each areas’ purpose and function. We are all coming to realize that outdoor spaces are no longer a luxury. They are rather a necessity for healthy living both at home and at work. These newly emerging outdoor spaces have become an amenity that the workforce, renters, and tenants are looking for.
Designing the Outdoor Spaces We Need
As landscapers, we have always had an appreciation for nature. Our kind of work involves cultivating plants that enrich our lives, as well as nurturing relationships with people who are passionate about the outdoors. More and more we are being asked to put this experience to work as the demand is growing for outdoor spaces where people can safely gather. Real estate developers, property managers, and owners are challenging us to make use of natural spaces and undeveloped areas. Shaping these underused outdoor spaces into places where people can re-engage their senses is the latest challenge in landscape design. Reconnecting with mother nature while enjoying the open air helps recharge our creative batteries. Immersing our minds and bodies in nature, even if for just a few minutes a day, has huge mental and physical health benefits. This looks to be a trend that will likely continue for as long as we all continue to adjust to this new way of life.