Some Pandemic Design Trends Are Built to Last
February 14, 2021. By Isara Ongwiseth: We want everyone to love their garden – for the long haul. Because we have your best interests at heart, we can be a bit wary of trends. Perhaps ironically, we do see a few popularized by the pressures of the pandemic with the hallmarks of long term love. These trends support not only socially distanced pandemic life, but our best and most vibrant social lives.
In pandemic, many have become critical of either their interior or exterior space, when neither may deserve all the credit or fault for the health of their relationship. The conversation between interior and exterior spaces should flow like that of a couple happily married for decades. It will be hardly perceptible where one ends and the other begins. Where the inside has a weakness, the outside will bring its very best, masking the weakness or even lending it a certain charm.
Like a good matchmaker, a good landscape designer will consider the needs of the interior space, even as they look to what the household wants to experience outside. Where can verdant beauty and birdsong enter the home through a window? Can a small or awkward kitchen align with an expansive and well-appointed outdoor kitchen? Can a delightful tree canopy cool a hot bedroom (in a good way!).
Of course, great outdoor design may lead to architects playing matchmaker too. We have several clients who have added windows in order to gaze at their most-loved garden spaces!
A great landscape, like a well-formed relationship, will have the right boundaries. Yet, what feels right to me may not feel right to you or any other! While no set formula works for everyone, by listening to the home and community, we find a balance point where the garden enjoys engaging with both.
We might ask… Is there enough definition for interactions to be spacious? Gracious? Is there too much space for intimacy? If the home lacks space from the street, can the landscape create some privacy? If the home tends toward distance and withdrawal, can the garden support trails, edible spaces, or patios that invite-in community?
Support and Appreciation
In the context of clearly defined boundaries, beauty can support us with abundance, awe and appreciation.
Revealing our natural beauty provides essential support – our eyes, our cortisol levels, and blood pressure all respond best to naturalistic beauty. It is truly a survival-level need. Beauty that evolves keeps us returning to the same garden over and over. Habitat that flies, flutters, tweets and twitters with wildlife provides an additional layer of awe that amplifies tenderness. That said, while beauty is critically important, it is not generally enough to support a lifetime commitment.
A landscape that supports our basic needs and demands what we most want to provide feels as if it completes us. Wandering natural spaces, picking the occasional bloom, gently mulching the base of a favorite sage or ruffling the leaves under an oak builds our tenderness for a place. If in our wanders, we find the sustenance of wild edibles, or even those of the more conventional variety, all the better!
Gardens where we experience flow, appreciate beauty and boundaries, and receive support will likely earn our undying appreciation. Still, there is yet another appreciation language a garden should speak. Landscapes have a powerful ability to improve home values. (For some, this is the only form of appreciation that truly matters!)
Here, there is great news…If you have a healthy indoor-outdoor relationship, if your garden defines good boundaries, supports your needs and appreciates the attention you provide, Valentine’s Day can pass and the pandemic can fade from memory – you will have no lack of gain.