With summer, comes a welcome invitation for people in Wisconsin to spend as much time as possible outside. Not only does nature replenish Vitamin D and support immunity; reduce anxiety and depression; lower blood pressure and reduce stress; increase serotonin and reinforce circadian cycles for better sleep; and improve focus, but it may also help reduce cancer risk by increasing anti-cancer proteins. “Being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind,” says certified therapeutic recreational specialist Erica Price. “Whether at the beach, forest, or in a neighborhood park, nature offers a calming effect. And, when we combine nature with physical activity, it can help fight depression and anxiety.”
Even those that aren’t outdoor enthusiasts can benefit from all that sunshine and verdant venues have to offer by simply taking daily activities and relaxation outside. Well-designed outdoor living spaces can offer a great option for meals, reading, fitness, movies, and so much more. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your time and space.
Plan for Privacy
No one wants nosy neighbors. Be creative when considering the best location for your outdoor escape, remember shrubs, garden walls, pergolas, gazebos, canopies, privacy fences, and trees can all help to define and structure intimate spaces, often offering shade in the process.
Choose Furniture Wisely
Keep furnishings simple and focus on styles that extend your home’s design ethos to create continuity. Additionally, consider the impacts of moisture, sun, and bugs when selecting textiles and materials. For tight budgets and smaller spaces with minimal storage, it might make sense to think about options that can be repurposed to indoor spaces when the weather turns, particularly cozy accents like pillows and blankets.
Light it Up
Who doesn’t love a twinkling light? The options are endless for outdoor lighting – from string lights and pathway stakes to tiki torches – and many of them include solar capabilities. When placing and planning lighting, think about areas that need to be lit for safety and functionality, as well as ambient touches for mood and relaxation. Keep in mind that fire pits and the like can be used for light, warmth, and cooking.
Bring the Inside Out
Plan for outdoor dining, movies, recreation, and more. Make your outdoor spaces work for you and your family. A simple outdoor projector can make for a fun new spin on family movie night. A dedicated dining space makes for easy impromptu picnics. If space and budget allow, an outdoor kitchen with a complete with sink, refrigeration, counter space, and grill can be a great option. Pass-through window designs from your home’s kitchen to the patio make prep and clean-up particularly convenient. If an outdoor kitchen isn’t an option, think about ways to repurpose spaces depending on activity, thereby minimizing footprint and maximizing functionality.