Outdoor Rooms for Summer

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We often think about our indoor spaces, but what about areas outside the home? Outdoor spaces are often overlooked or undervalued, particularly in geographic areas with distinct seasonal changes. But this hidden mecca of relaxation can be maximized to reflect your personal tastes. Outdoor rooms can be cozy, inviting, enchanting and even soothing to the soul. They can enhance wellbeing, as well as physical, mental and emotional health.

Studies have proven decreased stress levels, rumination and anxiety with consistent exposure to outdoor spaces, whether that’s a private garden (imagine birds chirping and a soothing water feature), taking a walk by the ocean, in a forest or in your own backyard.

Reconnect with Nature. Our urban and indoor environments are controlled in so many ways. Particularly the places we work. Temperature, furniture arrangement, lighting, style etc. — it all matters and makes us feel a certain way. Going outdoors is therapeutic to the soul and mind. Being grounded encourages our essence and reconnects us to Mother Earth. Through this process of reconnecting with ourselves, we are better able to deal with the multitude of decisions and challenges we face in our everyday lives.

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
— Henry David Thoreau

Recognizing the magic in nature and creating ideal spaces in our own outdoor environments shifts our interactions with people and our connection to love and work. Whether it’s a small garden at your condo/apartment or a sprawling five acres, creating intentional spaces for rejuvenation and connection with yourself, others and Mother Nature is essential for a well-rounded and balanced life.

We are surrounded by awe all the time, but due to our busy lives, we often (myself included) don’t have the eyes to see it. Recognizing how our spaces impact our wellbeing is essential to living a more fulfilling life. These are things we can control!

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.
— Gary Synder

Create Your Outdoor Space

At home, outdoor spaces can be decorated and adorned for any occasion, whether it’s relaxing with a cup of coffee in the morning or celebrating with friends and family for a wedding. Here’s How:

  • Plants: Go to a local garden center for help on a variety of plant selections for your geographic location. Hanging baskets, vines, pots and planters, and colorful annuals can brighten up a space.
  • Water Features: The sound of water anywhere is soothing and calming and can help soothe nerves and even reduce blood pressure.
  • Mirrors: Decorate and furnish the outdoor as you would the indoor spaces with visual touches to expand your space.
  • Furniture: Comfortable and well-arranged for conversation, dining and relaxing. Create zones for different activities so you have a space for all of your needs.
  • Lighting: String lighting, tiki torches, fire pits and landscape lighting are all wonderful ways to create ambiance and MOOD. You can create a spa-like quality to your garden outside the comfort of your own home!

Our outdoor spaces are sacred and deserve our creative attention and thoughtfulness.

We can garner useful meditation in either the spaces we create or the ones that Mother Nature gifted us with. Many of life’s challenges and decisions can be worked through and resolved in our outdoor spaces through peaceful time with nature.

Taking even a short time to enjoy the outdoors is essential to reconnecting with ourselves and therefore being (and feeling) better with others.

Lindsey Cavanaugh