What would it take to have your outdoor living space become your outdoor happy place?
You have to make some choices. You start to consider what to add to it and what to take out.
This quickly leads to thoughts about getting a new design. What just a minute. Is that the best first step? The answer to that question is yes and no.
It all depends on your definition of landscape design. Our process at Architectural Landscape Design, Inc begins with communication and planning.
Here’s the short version of how it works.
We imagine an aspiring novelist beginning her novel with the blank page, and she does. However, for months and maybe years before that she has been shaping and reshaping the characters. what they want and what they need to make the story work.
In a similar way that is how you will create your outdoor happy place. It’s a creative planning process.
Even before designing you have to imagine how the story comes together. It sounds like work and it is, but it turns out we have a 3-step process that will the challenge easy.
Happiness is a feeling that sometimes cannot be described in words because it’s personal. This process starts there and works backward to build our happy place from the ground up.
Step #1. Fix The Happiness Energy Leaks
The easiest way to plan your happy place is considering what about its current state does not make you happy. Whatever cannot be removed should be added to a list of elements to mitigate.
You will discover some elements drain your energy are comforting at other times, such as sunshine. This is why our ultimate step is finding the balance that is right for you.
These are a few of the most common landscape happiness obstacles:
You can add elements to this list by considering your senses.
What are you seeing, thinking, feeling and doing that depletes your energy?
This is a planning process that’s almost a meditation. It depends on how you are wired.
You may love enjoying a beautiful lawn but maintaining it drains your energy just thinking about it. If hiring a service to do the work is a possibility then that’s the way to go.
This is a flexible process that captures ideas. If you are an extrovert you will most like want to get feedback from others. You can discuss this with family and friends or have a consultation with your landscape designer.
He or she will ask you a lot of questions. The purpose of this exercise is to engage all of the senses by exploring what makes you happy. Once again, most people find it helps to organize everything into these four categories.
Step #2. Introduce Energy Restoring Elements
Now that you have solved most of the problems you are facing it’s time to add some happiness!
Here’s a question that will help you get there: What activities restore your energy and what elements are necessary to make them possible.
Most people don’t want more choices. They want to be more confident in the choices they make.
Try making a list of activities and elements and ranking them.
Then contrast and compare the top-ranked activities and elements to see if there is alignment. For example, swimming and sunshine are aligned. So, are relaxing, reading and privacy.
- Entertaining and outdoor living
- Family gatherings
- Sports and Play
- Lawn games
- Reading and relaxing
- Gardening and sharing
- Trees and other woody plantings
- Colorful flowers and perennials
- Open Space
- Cool Breeze
- Patios and decks
- Pools and spas
- Outdoor kitchens and grills
- Fireplaces and fire pits
- Fencing and privacy hedges
- Arbors and pergolas
- Outdoor lighting
- Water features and stone sculptures
- Putting green
Let’s explore one particular activity. Almost everybody derives immense satisfaction from giving.
Gardeners, in particular, enjoy coaxing their gardens to grow. What gives them greater joy, however, is sharing the vegetables or cut flowers with friends and neighbors.
Gardeners tend to be introverts. Whereas extraverts may not enjoy gardening they love to entertain and show off their beautiful spaces. Therefore, they will still appreciate colorful and fragrant flower beds.
Understanding who you are and what energizes you makes it much easier to get the landscaping that is right for you.
Step #3. Balance The Elements To Ground Your Energy
It’s easier to balance all of these activities and elements than you may have imagined. The trick is to consider what changes — and that’s time.
You have the time of the day, week, month, and year to consider.
For example, sunshine is welcoming in the early morning hours when its cool and calm. Later in the day, the sun is hotter. At that time shade and protection from wind may be in order, depending on the season.
What grounds you is often what brings your attention inward.
Energizing activity is enjoyable and necessary but it must be counterbalanced with opportunities to rest. This is true of all people.
Grounding is one of the principles of Feng Shui, the Chinese art of balancing energy that is sometimes used for designing indoor and outdoor spaces. It’s a discipline whose principles tend to mirror those of architectural landscape design.
Energy needs to flow. If a space is too cluttered or constricted it cannot do that. This is why every landscape needs generous open space for energy to settle and make people feel comfortable.
People are a source of energy and will enjoy living in spaces that have physical and visual cues that make interaction and circulation possible. You will have to play with these ideas to find that balance.
The surest way to getting there is by asking yourself what you ultimately want to be seeing, thinking, feeling, and doing when you experience your happy place.
We would love to help you make your own outdoor living happy place.