When thinking about renovations and ways to improve your home, consider your indoor-outdoor space. Is the outside easily accessible? Do you have plants inside? Do you have a place to sit and relax outside? Richard Louv, who coined the term The Nature Principle, suggests that there are at least ten reasons we all benefit from time in nature. They are:
1. The more high tech we become, the more nature we need;
2. Humans are hard-wired to love - and need - exposure to the natural world;
3. We suffer when we withdraw from nature;
4. Nature brings our senses alive;
5. Individuals and businesses can become 'nature smart;'
6. Nature heals;
7. Nature can reduce depression and improve psychological healing;
8. Nature builds community bonds;
9. Nature bonds families and friends;
10. The future is at stake.
There are many other reasons as well. I know that on the darkest days in winter, my indoor plants make me happy and add fresh air in our house, which is otherwise shut tight against the cold; I know that in summer, spending time in the shade of a tree in our yard calms everyone in my family.
How have you brought nature inside or made more living spaces outside?
Humans are very sensitive to daylight. I'm not just referring to those who are afflicted with Seasonal affective disorder. There's a reason why Seattle has the highest rate of suicides, LOL. You can have enough light to read by on an overcast day, but let the sun break through and your spirits naturally lift. And I say that even though I'm not a fan of (our usually hot) sunny days nor of tanning!
When we were remodeling our house our partners made two brilliant suggestions. Since we had to replace the entire roof plus steepen the angle of its pitch, we popped up the ceilings on the main floor. This gave the new open plan LR/DR/kitchen 18' cathedral ceilings, instead of flat 8' ceilings. Then we installed a bank of picture windows across the entire back wall, which faces our hills with a completely unobstructed view.
Sunshine floods into the house every day. Even on cloudy days I don't need the lights during the daytime. It's wonderful, a huge change from our previous 'black hole' apartment kitchen. The view of the hills, trees, sunshine, moon- and sunrises are spectacular. The moment you walk into the house, you can see clear through to the back with its 180-degree view. Makes this little cottage feel spacious and warming!
(Above is a composite shot: late afternoon, then a spectacular sunset. There are two picture windows above these mirroring the peaked roof line)
One great thing about living in coastal CA is that if you plan right, flowers are pretty much year-round. We landscaped our lot in phases, and one of the joys is seeing flower colors come and go throughout the year. It's most brilliant in spring (which in CA is mid-Feb through mid-May) but we always have some plants or shrubs in bloom no matter when. You learn that roses, for example, are evergreen here - even in January or February they never go completely dormant. We have three Meyer lemons and one Bearss Lime around the property, and when they are in bloom the scent is amazing.
If I look out my living room window, this is what we see:
Sometimes I'll cut flower for a vase or two inside, but I usually just leave them to bloom outside. They last longer, and it lets everyone, not just us, enjoy their beauty.
What a wonderful front yard garden! The more flowering plants and flowers in the world, the better - Bees and other pollinators are so thankful!
Thank you! And the little lemon tree (right hand side, top) gives us 50-75 lbs. of Meyer lemons a year. Yum!
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