Designing Outdoor Connections for Enhanced Well-Being
January 10, 2022
Home design has a real and direct impact on how homeowners feel – both inside and outside. In the era of everything wellness, the most compelling new home plans are responsive to their surroundings. Single family and multifamily homes alike must offer private, direct access to outdoor experiences that enable homeowners and renters to escape, relax and rejuvenate. In fact, since dealing with the pandemic, over 2/3 of young singles and families say outdoor space is more important than ever.
Aside from the obvious benefits of natural light and great views, designing outdoor spaces has a direct health benefit. Limited outdoor access can actually increase the occurrence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), when a lack of Vitamin D negatively affects our mood. In combination with fewer social events and potentially working full or part-time from home, this can really cause people to feel down. Homes can combat this by building in functional, natural outdoor connections.
Apartment residents can still enjoy the private and communal outdoor spaces that make multifamily living so unique. Large balconies with sliding glass doors invite light and fresh air directly into each home. Communal amenities can further enhance and celebrate outdoor opportunities, including multiple small pools, tucked away grilling stations, shared community gardens and more. And for a bonus, a spectacular rooftop space can add a unique “wow” factor!
In single family design, even small lots need to incorporate outdoor space. Get creative with covered and uncovered courtyard spaces built into the footprint of the plan as a great solution for even the narrowest homes. Owners will love the fresh air and added privacy as well as the increased entertainment potential of this indoor/outdoor open floor plan.
Recently, the transition to hybrid and remote work has created a big shift in how people live in their homes. According to Gallup.com, 2/3 of employees in white-collar jobs (67%) reported working from home either exclusively (41%) or some of the time (26%) in September . In turn, home design may have changed forever as architects work to develop functional, integrated work spaces in nearly every new plan. Multiple flex spaces are more important than ever, but even the inclusion of a well-placed desk nook can be a difference maker in new home designs. Direct access to the outdoors is a big win for remote workers – fresh air and a touch of nature will help anyone stay alert and focused during long work days.
More time at home also reinforced the benefits of the traditional rear yard. But designs don’t need a luxury resort-style pool to offer an amazing back yard experience. Smaller green space, more patio pavement and low-maintenance landscaping is a recipe for easy upkeep. Bifold or multi-panel sliding glass doors invite the outdoors in and create a seamless connection for entertaining.
Regardless of home type or location, prioritizing outdoor space has become one of the most important elements in winning over post-pandemic buyers. Private outdoor spaces where residents can escape, relax and rejuvenate are key ingredients of tomorrow’s most successful home designs.
These projects were featured in Volume 11 of our inspire magazine. Check it out here!