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Three outdoor additions that can make you healthier and happier

family on patio
In these anxious times, finding ways to reduce our stress, blood pressure and sense of isolation is becoming more and more important. Doctors and scientists have long known that a biophilic lifestyle helps us create a stronger connection with the natural world that can, in turn, improve our physical health and psychological well-being.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors in a green environment can boost our immune system, reduce anxiety, improve cognitive performance and prompt more restful sleep. But because most of us spend 80% to 90% of our time indoors, we have to find more ways to interact with nature.

biophilic chart
Recently we suggested an excellent way to do this was by expanding the square footage of your living space with an outdoor patio. If you already have a patio or are planning to build one in the future, here are some additions you might consider to make your outdoor area even more attractive and functional.

A Fireplace

outdoor fireplace
A fireplace in the living room or den is always the most popular place for friends and family to gather. But now you can have a fireplace on your patio as well. It’s the ideal way to turn your outdoor patio into the favorite “room” of the house from spring thru fall so you can enjoy the outdoors of your home even more.

A Fire Pit

gas firepitGas fire pit

wood fire pitWood-burning fire pit

If you don’t have enough room or budget to build a full fireplace, you can still create a focal point for bringing people together with a fire pit. It can be built on a patio or in another part of the yard. But wherever you decide to place it, keep in mind it will be contain live flames. That means it should be placed away from wooden structures, trees or anything else that might prove flammable.

Fire pits can be built to burn with wood, gas or propane gas. Each type has its pros and cons when it comes to maintenance and cost of operation. But whichever kind you choose, all will add a special sense of warmth, light and contentment to your life outdoors.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a fire pit, like the fireplace, is that the heat it produces allows you to spend more time outdoors in the evening and during colder times of the year. You can also cook on it. Marshmallows, hot dogs and whatever else can be safely put in an open flame. Or put a grill over the pit and barbeque away!

A Fountain

water fountain
While the open flame of a fire pit adds to your comfort outside, the sound and sight of running water in a stream, pond or fountain can help reduce your stress level. Of course, not every home has access to a pond or stream, but you can still enjoy the sight and sound of flowing water with an outdoor fountain. The gentle, quiet, rhythmic splashes of a fountain can add another dimension of peace and tranquility to your garden and your life.

The soothing sound of flowing water not only provokes positive emotional responses like reduced stress and increased feelings of tranquility. Water can also mask disturbing noise from neighbors and traffic. This in turn can help lower your blood pressure and make it easier to relax.

A fountain can also attract wildlife like birds, butterflies and squirrels, enhancing your relationship with the natural world every day.

An Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen
One more addition to your outdoor space that can add even more value to your home and your lifestyle is an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchens have been increasing in popularity since the 1990’s and the trend is on the rise with newer homes. In a 2021 annual survey of designers conducted by the New Home Trends Institute, 68% of the participants responded that they were including outdoor kitchens in their new projects. As we suggested earlier in this piece, the reason is because more and more people want to interact with nature as often as they possibly can.

In addition, adding outdoor kitchens, fire pits and barbeque areas to older properties puts them in line with the latest in kitchen remodels for a much lower price tag. Converting exterior space to dining, cooking or entertainment areas is generally more affordable than adding to the interior, and, makes homes more comfortable and convenient places for enjoying family and the great outdoors. Furthermore, outdoor kitchens return 100% to 200% of their cost when the home is sold.

If you would like to discuss any of these project ideas with us and how we could add value to your home and comfort to your life, just call us at 847-912-6319.

Enjoy the rising temperatures!


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