What the Pandemic Teaches Us about Maximizing Outdoor Spaces at Home

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Generally speaking, the design process begins with an understanding of people’s needs. Then, the designer works to create the best solution that matches those needs.

When it comes to our homes, most of the places we live in have been designed to suit somewhat outdated needs. In light of how the pandemic has changed our lives, many homeowners have found it necessary to make changes that reflect the times.

Among these upgrades, we need to look for ways that will help maximize outdoor spaces. Here are some options to consider.

A garden that functions 24/7

In uncertain times, our human instinct tells us to go back to nature. Somehow, our minds feel more at ease when we are in touch with natural environments. The cycles of the seasons and things growing and falling away are constant. They remind us that even a global crisis on the scale of Covid-19 is only temporary.

But at the same time, restrictions on travel have limited our ability to enjoy outdoor adventures. For these reasons, many people have turned to a newfound interest in gardening. Homes devoid of green have suddenly found space for indoor plants. And those who have an adequately-sized plot of land are searching for ways to create a natural oasis of sorts on their property.

Everybody looks for something different in a garden. Some might grow vegetables while others seek to cultivate showy flowers and attractive foliage patterns. But one way you can get even more value out of this space is by designing a night garden.

Fragrant and pale night blooms such as moonflower give you a unique experience you can only enjoy by stepping outside in the evening. With MR16 LED downlights, you can use illumination to cast interesting shapes in the darkness. Even if you’ve been busy all day, this gives you a place to unwind after the sun goes down.

An outdoor home office

We live in the age of remote work. Not only has this been a widely implemented stopgap solution across companies and industries, but it also figures to be a prominent feature of the workplace in the new normal.

As this trend continues, workers will have a greater incentive to build skill sets that allow them to take on knowledge-based jobs and work from home. Even on a part-time basis, such arrangements offer considerable flexibility and cost savings.

It also implies, though, that the home office will become a permanent fixture. Multiple members of a household might be facing congestion in that particular space. And you need to remember to take a break outdoors now and then for some physical activity.

The ideal compromise is to upgrade your outdoor areas to make them more compatible with working from home. Doing this gives you the benefits of the outdoors and boosts your well-being.

To accomplish that, you have to take the weather into account. If you don’t have a tree in the yard to provide sufficient shade, an adjustable patio umbrella helps filter out the sunlight. This protects your vision and reduces the risk of devices overheating. An outdoor curtain offers the same functionality on a long-term basis.

Long outdoor string lighting gives you the ability to work from the porch (or balcony) at night, even without a nearby power source. You can plug your laptop into the open outlet, or invest in a portable power station, which can do double duty if you also work on the go.

A venue for family gatherings

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Most homeowners will feel, though, that work-related needs should never take over their properties. At heart, the home still has to be a place to live in. And on occasion, serve as a gathering place for our friends and extended family.

Certainly, it’s safest to refrain from any unnecessary social mingling. But as the CDC guidelines state, indoor areas with less ventilation pose a greater risk for transmission. If you’re having people over for the holidays, preparing your outdoor space to serve as an entertainment venue is the way to go.

As with an outdoor office, you’ll want some form of cover to shield people from the weather, only larger in area. Investing in all-weather furniture, some comfortable pillows, and a fire pit or outdoor fireplace might end up being money well-spent.

These functions don’t have to be temporary, though. You can lay out upgrades to host more outdoor events in the future. From poolside upgrades to backyard kitchens, it’s about time for more homeowners to rediscover the untapped potential of their outdoor spaces.

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