Home improvement projects have been experiencing high levels of activity in recent months. Many of us now spend substantially more time at home. One clear result of the pandemic is that it has shifted the way we live and work. But with more focus on the home, any shortcomings in indoor and outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly obvious. That is why many people are now seriously looking at ways to make their homes serve them better.
When it comes to our outdoor spaces, there’s a golden opportunity to add more wellness benefits into space. Goodness knows we could all do with a bit more positive mental health during these crazy times, so why not design our gardens to help provide the necessary physical and mental benefits we so desperately crave? Here are three suggestions for you to contemplate.
Outdoor swimming pool
What do you do if your local leisure centre and gym are closed and you are seeking a consistent and convenient solution for your daily swim? Let’s face it, those extra lockdown pounds aren’t going to shed themselves. Building your own pool may sound like a drastic solution but if you’re a keen swimmer and there’s a bit of space in your garden, don’t dismiss the idea out of hand.
Serious swimmers wanting to build strength and stamina might want to investigate the HydroStar and Fastlane systems by Endless Pools. Without the need for a big sized pool, you can exercise against the current without actually moving!
If you have a family with kids, a pool can be so much more than just somewhere to exercise. Think of it as a summer playground where you can be sociable with friends and family in the relative safety of the open air. It could transform the way you use the garden.
Pools have always been a luxury home addition and there’s no getting around the fact that they don’t come cheap. Composite one-piece ceramic pools are a comparatively affordable option that is not only of superior quality but requires much less installation time – definitely worth looking into.
Patios, decks and seating areas
The main attraction of having a garden is that it provides a place of relaxation in nature. Step outside and breathe deeply, leaving your daily stresses behind. Spending time outdoors has proven mental health benefits such as increased alertness and energy and reduced instances of impulsive and aggressive behaviour. Nearly 90% of people recognise the well-being benefits of being in their garden.
Expand your living space outside with the addition of comfortable sheltered seating areas, pergolas and summerhouses. Create a focal point where you like to sit for morning coffee or design a path to take you to the shed at the bottom of the garden where you can while away the hours in peace and quiet, pottering around your vegetable beds. Garden designers often talk of garden rooms, a way to zone your outdoor space to add interest and character with hard and soft landscaping.
Finally, a water feature ties into the current ‘biophilia’ trend which is designed to strengthen your connection with living nature, and has proven calming benefits for PTSD sufferers, including coronavirus, and others.
Don’t forget the plants
You don’t have to be green-fingered in order to enjoy the plants in your garden, though there are undeniable health benefits of interacting with them. Gardening can create a sense of achievement and self-esteem and you see the results of your efforts when your garden shows healthy plant growth. Tending to your plants on a regular basis awakens the nurturing instinct in humans and can restore a sense of hope and meaning. Then there are the obvious physical benefits in terms of cardiovascular fitness, strength & mobility, weight control and more.
Whichever way you look at it, a garden has a huge potential to make you feel good and ‘feed the soul’. Bear this in mind when making changes to your garden design so you can maximise the goodness it brings. Design your garden to engage all the senses:
- Colour: Green is a naturally relaxing colour, while cool tones whites, pinks, blues and purples have a calming effect on your state of mind. Bright, happy colours such as reds, oranges and yellows add more visual interest.
- Scent: Aromas can evoke powerful memories or simply stop you in your tracks as you appreciate the scent. Plant fragrant herbs and shrubs such as lavender, lilac, sweet pea or honeysuckle.
- Texture: Vary your soft landscaping for texture, form and movement. From wafty grasses to lush tropicals, formal structures to country cottage flowers, a garden is at its most inviting and inspiring if it has a touchy-feely vibe.
- Plant for wildlife: Increase biodiversity in your garden to support the planet by choosing plants that attract wildlife. After all, what would a garden be like without birdsong or the buzzing of bees?
- Edibles: Whether you plant an apple tree, a raspberry bush or grow your own vegetables, it’s an easy way to connect with Mother Earth through growing your own food, and something the whole family can get involved in.
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